Ei-iE

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Fighting the commercialisation of education

Education is a human right and a public good that can be fully realised only through the provision of free, equitable, inclusive, quality public education. The growing commercialisation and privatisation in and of the sector is the greatest threat to the universal right to education.

Across the world, corporate interests are striving to transform all levels of education, from early childhood to higher education, into yet another market with winners and losers. As private-sector management models are applied to education institutions, employment conditions in the sector are being undermined. As low-fee, low-quality private schools expand rapidly, there is a risk that governments abrogate their responsibility to ensure the right to education for all. Unaccountable corporations have undue influence on education policies and institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend which risks transforming education into a commodity, favouring profit over quality education.

As educators, we put students before profit. In 2015 we launched our Global Response to the Commercialisation and Privatisation of Education. Through this campaign, we work to expose and challenge the policies and practices of governments, intergovernmental organisations and international financial institutions which undermine public education and the rights and status of teachers and education support personnel. We also resist global corporate actors, especially education technology providers, who push the commercialisation and privatisation in and of education.

Our work in this area

  1. News 20 July 2010

    Second Round of Trans-Pacific Partnership talks conclude

    Representatives from eight Pacific-rim nations met in San Francisco last month for the second round of negotiations aimed at establishing a new regional free trade zone.

    Second Round of Trans-Pacific Partnership talks conclude
  2. News 19 May 2010

    Unions call for implementation of global Financial Transaction Tax

    Ahead of the informal meeting of the vice Finance Ministers and deputy Central Bankers of the Group of 20 nations convening today in Berlin, trade unionists and other activists around the world launched the "Make Finance Pay Week" on Monday calling for the implementation of a global tax on financial...

    Unions call for implementation of global Financial Transaction Tax
  3. News 23 April 2010

    World Intellectual Property Day: EI calls for fair and balanced copyright rules

    Recently recognised as an official observer at the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the global federation representing educators worldwide issues a statement on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day on 26 Apr, calling for "fair and balanced copyright rules".

    World Intellectual Property Day: EI calls for fair and balanced copyright rules
  4. News 15 April 2010

    WTO “stocktaking” meeting fails to make progress

    The latest attempt to kick-start stalled global trade talks ended on a sour note in March as European trade officials openly accused the United States of foot-dragging.

    WTO “stocktaking” meeting fails to make progress
  5. News 15 April 2010

    European Parliament demands to see ACTA text

    The European Parliament threatened on 10 March to petition the European Court of Justice in an effort to force the European Commission to make public the draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

    European Parliament demands to see ACTA text
  6. News 15 April 2010

    Trans-Pacific Partnership talks launched in Australia

    Inaugural negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) aimed at creating an ambitious regional free trade zone were launched in Melbourne on 15 March.

    Trans-Pacific Partnership talks launched in Australia
  7. News 15 April 2010

    EU demands Canada overhaul IP rules

    A leaked text of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) confirms that Canada’s copyright and patent legislation are being targeted in the negotiations.

    EU demands Canada overhaul IP rules
  8. News 15 April 2010

    Trade unions condemn EU-Colombia deal

    Trade unions in Europe and in Colombia are speaking out against a new free trade agreement charging that it provides political support to a regime in Colombia that is deeply implicated in gross violations of human rights and labour standards.

    Trade unions condemn EU-Colombia deal
  9. News 28 January 2010

    Canada-Europe free trade talks under scrutiny

    The second round of negotiations for a Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) took place in Brussels in January amid growing trade union and civil society concerns about the scope and impact of the treaty.

    Canada-Europe free trade talks under scrutiny
  10. News 28 January 2010

    Little movement seen in WTO talks

    Senior trade officials are increasingly pessimistic that a deal to conclude the stalled Doha Development Round of trade negotiations can be reached this year.

    Little movement seen in WTO talks
  11. News 28 January 2010

    Slovak Republic facing trade lawsuit over health care reform

    A Dutch company is suing the Slovak Republic for allegedly breaching the terms of a bilateral investment treaty following passage of a law requiring that health insurance be provided on a not-for-profit basis.

    Slovak Republic facing trade lawsuit over health care reform
  12. News 28 January 2010

    Trade deal sparks controversy over copyright in Costa Rica

    Final ratification of a free trade agreement with the United States has been delayed in the Costa Rican legislature amid a growing controversy over the deal’s intellectual property provisions.

    Trade deal sparks controversy over copyright in Costa Rica
  13. News 28 January 2010

    EC official confirms ACTA will force changes in domestic law

    The EC Commissioner-designate for the internal market, Michel Barnier, has admitted that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will require changes to domestic law.

    EC official confirms ACTA will force changes in domestic law
  14. 22 January 2010

    Educators beware: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

    In early November, negotiators from the United States, Japan, the European Union, Canada and a select handful of other nations huddled together in a closed-door session in Seoul, South Korea.

    Educators beware: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
  15. News 3 December 2009

    EI remains vigilant to keep education out of trade deals

    Trade Ministers from around the world meeting in Geneva ended their discussions on 2 December by reaffirming their political commitment to concluding talks on a new global trade pact in 2010, even as deep differences remain.

    EI remains vigilant to keep education out of trade deals
  16. News 2 December 2009

    Behind the scenes at the WTO

    The second day of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva has seen trade ministers shift their deliberations about the future of the multilateral trading system to closed working sessions.

    Behind the scenes at the WTO
  17. News 30 November 2009

    Keep education and public services out of WTO agreements

    At the World Trade Organization’s 7th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, EI is urging trade ministers to keep education and other public services off the table.

    Keep education and public services out of WTO agreements
  18. News 27 November 2009

    EI insists education is not a commodity

    Education and other public services are basic human rights, which must not be viewed as commodities or be subjected to commercial trade rules.

    EI insists education is not a commodity