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 13 February 2008

    GATS Update: Differences emerge over draft services text

    Talks aimed at liberalizing the international trade in services under the WTO’s GATS agreement are moving at a slow but steady pace even as deep divisions remain on key issues, according to officials in Geneva.

    GATS Update: Differences emerge over draft services text
  2. News 31 October 2007

    Canada to export AIDS medicine under new TRIPS Agreement

    Canada has become the first WTO member to take advantage of new pharmaceutical licensing rules intended to improve access to essential medicines in developing countries.

    Canada to export AIDS medicine under new TRIPS Agreement
  3. News 31 October 2007

    UN Agency Warns Developing Countries against Bilateral FTAs

    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that developing nations need to "think carefully" before signing bilateral and regional free trade agreements with the developed world.

    UN Agency Warns Developing Countries against Bilateral FTAs
  4. News 31 October 2007

    WTO Talks Teeter on the Brink Again

    The future of the World Trade Organization's troubled Doha Round of talks remains in doubt again as negotiators from developing and developed countries have been unable to bridge their deep differences despite a series of intensive negotiations in September.

    WTO Talks Teeter on the Brink Again
  5. News 18 June 2007

    Make or break time in Geneva

    Negotiators at the World Trade Organization say they are running out of time to reach a deal in the troubled Doha Round talks.

    Make or break time in Geneva
  6. News 18 June 2007

    GATS Update: New draft text on domestic regulation

    Negotiations aimed at liberalizing trade in services under the GATS appear to be on the verge of endorsing new restrictions on domestic regulations. These new rules would cover measures related to qualification requirements and procedures, licensing requirements and procedures, and technical standards.

    GATS Update: New draft text on domestic regulation
  7. News 18 June 2007

    Antigua and Barbuda raises stakes in US gambling case

    The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda is threatening to escalate its fight against US restrictions on cross-border Internet gambling by encouraging other countries to make WTO compensation claims for Washington's decision to modify its WTO services commitments.

    Antigua and Barbuda raises stakes in US gambling case
  8. News 18 June 2007

    USA: White House, Democrats reach deal on FTAs

    The Bush administration and senior Democratic lawmakers have agreed to a deal to include environmental and labour protections in any new bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) the country signs.

    USA: White House, Democrats reach deal on FTAs
  9. News 18 June 2007

    Brazil issues generic license for AIDS drug

    In the latest test of the WTO’s rules on intellectual property rights, Brazil has issued a compulsory license for the patented AIDS drug efavirenz that will allow companies to import and eventually manufacture generic versions of the drug more cheaply.

    Brazil issues generic license for AIDS drug
  10. News 24 April 2007

    Little progress reported in WTO talks

    Despite a flurry of high level meetings over the past weeks, senior trade officials with the World Trade Organization admit that members are still far from achieving a breakthrough in the Doha Round of trade talks.

    Little progress reported in WTO talks
  11. News 24 April 2007

    Update on GATS talks

    With little progress being made in agricultural negotiations, talks aimed at reaching a WTO deal on the trade in services under the GATS also remain stalled according to trade officials in Geneva.

    Update on GATS talks
  12. News 24 April 2007

    Domestic regulation rules: The debate continues

    Trade officials expressed differing views on the draft text on domestic regulation released in February. The negotiations are focused on developing new GATS restrictions that would require that government measures adopted with respect to qualification requirements and procedures, licensing requirements and procedures, and technical standards be relevant, objective and "no...

    Domestic regulation rules: The debate continues
  13. News 24 April 2007

    ASEAN members press for emergency safeguards in GATS

    Eight member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have renewed their efforts to press for new WTO rules allowing countries to restrict access to their services markets in emergency situations when domestic firms are threatened by foreign competition.

    ASEAN members press for emergency safeguards in GATS
  14. News 24 April 2007

    US Democrats unveil trade strategy

    Congressional Democratic leaders unveiled a set of policy principles that they want incorporated into several pending free trade agreements (FTAs), as well as the country's broader trade agenda.

    US Democrats unveil trade strategy