Ei-iE

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teacher remote learning

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 12 November 2009

    Workshop highlights GATS dangers for developing countries

    Developing countries need to approach current negotiations aimed at liberalizing the trade in services with caution, a high level seminar has concluded.

    Workshop highlights GATS dangers for developing countries
  2. News 12 November 2009

    India alters foreign school rules citing WTO compliance

    Backtracking on earlier commitments, the government of India announced last month it will not require foreign educational institutions to meet quotas or adhere to caps on tuition fees.

    India alters foreign school rules citing WTO compliance
  3. News 12 November 2009

    WIPO members endorse talks on protection of traditional knowledge

    Following a year-long stalemate, members of the World Intellectual Property Office endorsed a new round of negotiations to develop an international agreement on the protection of traditional knowledge and genetic resources.

    WIPO members endorse talks on protection of traditional knowledge
  4. News 12 November 2009

    Trade rules and climate change

    Experts are warning that WTO trade rules could affect some measures that countries are taking to combat climate change.

    Trade rules and climate change
  5. News 12 November 2009

    New book highlights struggles over GATS and education

    Teacher unions and NGOs, including Education International, have played a critical role in limiting the inclusion of education services in the WTO’s GATS agreement, according to a new book by Antoni Verger of the University of Amsterdam.

    New book highlights struggles over GATS and education
  6. Publications and Research

    Public private partnerships in education

    9 September 2009

    In an era of stretched public budgets and reduced taxation revenues, the involvement of private resources is increasingly seen as a strategy to sustain expansion of education opportunities both in quantity and quality. This view is shared not only by governments and industry, but also by many unions.

    Public private partnerships in education
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  7. News 23 June 2009

    WTO announces 7th Ministerial Meeting

    Members of the World Trade Organization will hold a “scaled-down, no frills” ministerial conference in Geneva November 30 to December 2, the first formal gathering of trade ministers since 2005.

    WTO announces 7th Ministerial Meeting
  8. News 23 June 2009

    EU and Canada launch trade talks

    The European Union and Canada have agreed on the main areas to be negotiated in a possible comprehensive economic agreement.

    EU and Canada launch trade talks
  9. News 23 June 2009

    Developing countries facing new debt crisis

    The global financial crisis and the liberalization of financial services has led to a financing shortfall for developing countries of between $US 250 and $US 750 billion, according to Martin Khor, executive director of the South Centre.

    Developing countries facing new debt crisis
  10. News 5 March 2009

    GATS negotiations to resume

    WTO negotiations aimed at liberalizing the international trade in services, including education, are set to begin again after nearly a year-long hiatus.

    GATS negotiations to resume
  11. News 5 March 2009

    Economic crisis spurs fear of “WTO monster”

    Concerns are being raised that trade agreements like the WTO could hamper the ability of governments to respond effectively to the growing economic crisis.

    Economic crisis spurs fear of “WTO monster”
  12. News 5 March 2009

    Protest grows over “Buy American” plan

    Criticism is growing over the inclusion of a “Buy American” clause in the U.S. stimulus legislation.

    Protest grows over “Buy American” plan
  13. News 5 March 2009

    ACTA negotiations delayed

    Talks aimed at creating a new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, originally scheduled for March in Morocco, have been postponed at the request of the United States.

    ACTA negotiations delayed
  14. News 21 January 2009

    WTO Talks Falter at Year’s End

    World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy was forced to call off plans for a mini-Ministerial meeting last month after key countries failed to bridge their differences.

    WTO Talks Falter at Year’s End
  15. News 21 January 2009

    New Indian Higher Ed Regulations Would Violate GATS

    India’s higher education regulators are proposing new rules to combat an influx of low-quality, private higher education providers into the country.

    New Indian Higher Ed Regulations Would Violate GATS
  16. News 21 January 2009

    Concerns Raised over Canada-Colombia FTA

    Labour unions and civil society organizations in Canada are expressing outrage over the recent announcement that the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reached a free trade deal with Colombia.

    Concerns Raised over Canada-Colombia FTA
  17. 19 January 2009

    France: Public education under threat

    The recent book, "Main basse sur l’éducation publique", by teacher Eddy Khali and journalist Muriel Fitoussi, sends a disturbing message about the many threats endangering quality, free public education in France.

    France: Public education under threat