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 29 October 2008

    US Trade Representative sued over Anti-Counterfeiting Treaty

    A group of public interest organizations in the United States is suing the US Trade Representative office in an effort to obtain a copy of a draft treaty on intellectual property currently.

    US Trade Representative sued over Anti-Counterfeiting Treaty
  2. 4 September 2008

    Public education at risk of privatisation by stealth

    A new study commissioned by Education International reveals that a growing trend towards privatisation of public education is often camouflaged by the language of "educational reform," or introduced stealthily as "modernisation." Hence the title of the study: Hidden Privatisation In Public Education.

    Public education at risk of privatisation by stealth
  3. News 1 August 2008

    Doha Ministerial Collapses: WTO members vow to regroup

    After nine grueling days of negotiations, trade ministers meeting in Geneva July 21-30 admitted defeat in their attempts to reach a new global trade deal, but promised to regroup at a later date.

    Doha Ministerial Collapses: WTO members vow to regroup
  4. News 18 July 2008

    New GATS framework released ahead of "do or die" Ministerial meeting

    With trade ministers set to meet in Geneva the week of July 21 in what is being billed as the last ditch effort to complete the troubled WTO Doha Round of trade talks, the chair of the services negotiations has released a controversial new framework to guide the discussions.

    New GATS framework released ahead of "do or die" Ministerial meeting
  5. News 17 June 2008

    Public education at risk of privatisation by stealth

    A new study commissioned by Education International reveals that a growing trend towards privatization of public education is often camouflaged by the language of “educational reform,” or introduced stealthily as “modernization.” Hence the title of the study: Hidden Privatisation In Public Education.

    Public education at risk of privatisation by stealth
  6. News 6 June 2008

    "Moment of truth" at the WTO

    The Director General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, says negotiations aimed at liberalizing the trade in agriculture, industrial products and services have progressed to their final critical stage.

    "Moment of truth" at the WTO
  7. News 6 June 2008

    New IP treaty proposed

    The European Union, the United States and Canada are negotiating a new international agreement intended to combat global infringements of intellectual property.

    New IP treaty proposed
  8. News 6 June 2008

    EI and PSI at the WTO Public Forum

    Education International and Public Services International will be hosting a session at the 2008 WTO Public Forum on September 24-25 in Geneva.

    EI and PSI at the WTO Public Forum
  9. 5 June 2008

    Education is not a tradable commodity

    One of the most dramatic developments within education in recent years has been the emergence of the “international trade” in education services. The aggressive recruitment of fee-paying international students by schools, the explosion in borderless commercial e-learning, the franchising of offshore schools and campuses, and the sale of course material...

    Education is not a tradable commodity
  10. Publications and Research

    Hidden privatisation in public education

    Stephen Ball
    15 May 2008

    The trend towards privatization of public education is hidden. It is camouflaged by the language of “educational reform,” or introduced stealthily as “modernization”.

    Hidden privatisation in public education
    1. Download
  11. News 9 April 2008

    Final Push on Doha?

    Talks aimed at liberalizing global trade are heading into yet another crucial phase as the prospects of successfully completing a deal before the end of the year quickly fade.

    Final Push on Doha?
  12. News 9 April 2008

    Concerns Grow Over Investor Rights

    Development groups and trade unions are warning that treaties that regulate international investment are undermining democracy and human rights.

    Concerns Grow Over Investor Rights
  13. News 9 April 2008

    EU-India Free Trade Talks Stall

    Talks between the European Union and India on a bilateral free trade agreement may not be completed by the end of year as originally planned.

    EU-India Free Trade Talks Stall
  14. News 9 April 2008

    WIPO: New Proposal on Copyright Limitations

    Several nations are backing a new proposal for special exemptions from copyright rules under the agreements of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

    WIPO: New Proposal on Copyright Limitations
  15. News 13 February 2008

    U.S. Faces Penalty in GATS Gambling Dispute

    A WTO panel has given Antigua and Barbuda the right to impose $21 million in annual trade sanctions against the United States for its restrictions on cross-border Internet gambling.

    U.S. Faces Penalty in GATS Gambling Dispute
  16. News 13 February 2008

    USTR attacks NGOs for criticizing WTO

    The U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab has lashed out against non-governmental organizations for their criticisms of WTO trade talks.

    USTR attacks NGOs for criticizing WTO