Ei-iE

teacher remote learning
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. Opinion 30 September 2019

    Investing in public education – Europe can take a lead

    By Howard Stevenson, the University of Nottingham In many parts of the world the new academic year is just beginning. In the European Union this is also the time of year when the EU’s annual cycle of economic monitoring and social policy coordination commences. Through a sometimes obscure process called...

    Investing in public education – Europe can take a lead
  2. Opinion 26 September 2019

    Right to authorship, by Yamile Socolovsky

    Yamile Socolovsky

    Education International's decision to encourage discussion of an International Treaty concerning the exceptions and limitations to copyright for educational and research activities is both timely and necessary. The obstacles imposed on these activities by the excessively restrictive regulations in this area become remarkably difficult to overcome in the current context,...

    Right to authorship, by Yamile Socolovsky
  3. Opinion 18 September 2019

    Cruella DeVos’ Privatization Plan: Proposed Budget Cuts for Public Schools and More Money for Failing Charters

    By Carol Anne Spreen, New York University Last week, the US Department of Education attempted to suspend an employee for releasing Secretary of Education DeVos’ education budget to the Washington Post and to the Office of Special Counsel due to what the whistleblower deemed “inaccurate, misleading and dishonest” information. According...

    Cruella DeVos’ Privatization Plan: Proposed Budget Cuts for Public Schools and More Money for Failing Charters
  4. Opinion 15 September 2019

    “Education on the International Day of Democracy”, by David Edwards.

    David Edwards

    The United Nations established the International Day of Democracy on the 15th of September in 2007 to promote democracy. In 2019, it is clear that democracy and all the things that go with it like human rights and rule of law need to be defended as well as promoted. Education...

    “Education on the International Day of Democracy”, by David Edwards.
  5. News 7 September 2019

    UK: Member of Parliament argues for international aid to support public education systems, not private providers

    Education International welcomes the intervention of UK Member of Parliament Dan Carden who demanded that his country’s international aid be used to support universally accessible inclusive quality public education, and not private education providers in the Global South.

    UK: Member of Parliament argues for international aid to support public education systems, not private providers
  6. News 5 September 2019

    Argentina: new video gives insights into mechanisms of privatisation and commercialisation in education

    Focusing on the key findings of a study on the privatisation of education in Argentina commissioned by Education International, the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina has launched the video ‘Educación S.A.’ to highlight how economic interests advocating for the privatisation and commercialisation of Argentina’s public...

    Argentina: new video gives insights into mechanisms of privatisation and commercialisation in education
  7. Opinion 5 September 2019

    “Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Cote d’Ivoire: problematic privatization and a framework to be redefined”, by Eric Lavigne.

    Eric Lavigne

    The Pathways to Education and Work research group from the University of Toronto has published its report entitled “Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Cote d’Ivoire”. The study assesses, negatively, the results of privatization of education on technical and vocational education and training (TVET), calls for more public participation,...

    “Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Cote d’Ivoire: problematic privatization and a framework to be redefined”, by Eric Lavigne.
  8. Publications and Research

    An education union guide to copyrights and copywrongs in education and research

    28 August 2019

    Copyright laws around the world are being changed to accommodate the digital environment. It is essential that education unions take an active role in copyright reforms to ensure that teachers and researchers are not deprived of their rights to use and build upon creative works for teaching, learning and research.

    An education union guide to copyrights and copywrongs in education and research
    1. Download
  9. News 21 August 2019

    Liberia: civil society calls on government to stop the expansion of private education

    The fight against the privatisation of education has taken a step further in Liberia. The National Teachers' Association of Liberia together with twelve civil and human right organisations and two religious organisations sent a joint letter to public authorities reminding them of their responsibility to ensure quality public education for...

    Liberia: civil society calls on government to stop the expansion of private education
  10. Opinion 13 August 2019

    “For the integrity and status of Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training”, by Fred van Leeuwen.

    Fred van Leeuwen

    Higher education is indispensable if we are to maintain a foundation of facts, knowledge and free discussion in society. TVET reaches very many young people and adults and has a key education function in addition to providing skills training. Both are under attack as many, public and private, innocently or...

    “For the integrity and status of Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training”, by Fred van Leeuwen.
  11. Publications and Research

    Technical and vocational education and training as a framework for social justice: Analysis and evidence from world case studies

    Gavin Moodie, Leesa Wheelahan, Eric Lavigne
    31 July 2019

    This report observes several limitations of human capital theory, both as a description of the way qualifications are used in the labour market, and in severely limiting the potential roles of technical and vocational education and training (TVET). It proposes as an alternative the human capabilities approach which posits that...

    Technical and vocational education and training as a framework for social justice: Analysis and evidence from world case studies
    1. Download
  12. News 26 July 2019

    Educators’ unions in Australia and the EU call for education to be carved out of trade negotiations

    During the Education International (EI) 8th World Congress, affiliated educators’ unions in Australia and the European Union issued a statement calling for the Australian government and the European Commission to be more transparent in ongoing negotiations on the potential free trade agreement and to explicitly carve out education from the...

    Educators’ unions in Australia and the EU call for education to be carved out of trade negotiations