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 17 May 2019

    Access to Quality Education Under Threat in Honduras

    A new study reveals the mechanisms by which privatisation of education is spreading in Honduras as a result of the passivity of authorities, creating barriers to accessing education.

    Access to Quality Education Under Threat in Honduras
  2. Opinion 15 May 2019

    Education in Honduras: between privatisation and globalisation

    By D. Brent Edwards Jr.[1] , Mauro C. Moschetti[2] & Alejandro Caravaca[3] In the context of the numerous challenges facing public education systems worldwide, increasing privatisation and commodification represent one of the greatest challenges for equality in access to quality education. In a study recently conducted with the support of...

    Education in Honduras: between privatisation and globalisation
  3. Opinion 13 May 2019

    The university business

    By Sylvain Marois, Laval University, Quebec “[…] domination is administration.”

    The university business
  4. Opinion 9 May 2019

    Privatisation: an international problem needs a united solution

    By Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary National Education Union, United Kingdom Teachers enter the profession as champions of a human right – the right to education. We dedicate our careers to advancing the opportunities of the next generation and facilitating the delivery of a public good.

    Privatisation: an international problem needs a united solution
  5. Opinion 2 May 2019

    Pearson’s vision for ‘next generation’ learning: Disrupting teaching and profiting from student data

    By Anna Hogan, University of Queensland & Sam Sellar, Manchester Metropolitan University Pearson is holding its AGM on Friday April 26 and will outline its plans to increase its share of the rapidly expanding global education market. This is an opportune time to reflect on the potential impact of Pearson’s...

    Pearson’s vision for ‘next generation’ learning: Disrupting teaching and profiting from student data
  6. News 30 April 2019

    Critical voices at Pearson’s AGM

    Edubusiness Pearson was the subject of much criticism last week at its AGM in London.

    Critical voices at Pearson’s AGM
  7. Opinion 25 April 2019

    “Let’s spark a global discussion on copyright exceptions for education and research!”, by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    Today it’s World Intellectual Property Day – a good day to remind us that it’s time to reform copyright law. We need action to change copyright systems that are hindering free expression and failing to promote diverse and prosperous societies for the benefit of all.

    “Let’s spark a global discussion on copyright exceptions for education and research!”, by David Edwards
  8. News 20 March 2019

    Ghana: why teachers are saying no to Ark schools

    A new study shines light on the shadows behind a philanthropic organisation’s plans to promote private education in Ghana.

    Ghana: why teachers are saying no to Ark schools
  9. Opinion 17 March 2019

    Commercial Activity in Pacific Education

    We have recently completed a scoping study with members of the Council of Pacific Education (COPE) – a regional organisation of education unions from the South Pacific and a sub-branch of Education International - to map the trends of education reform throughout Pacific Island nations. First, it is necessary to...

    Commercial Activity in Pacific Education
  10. News 13 March 2019

    Iraq: The region and education system of Kurdistan pass into oblivion

    The Kurdistan Teachers' Union (KTU) issued a distress call about the deplorable situation of teachers in the public education system, which continues to deteriorate in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

    Iraq: The region and education system of Kurdistan pass into oblivion
  11. Opinion 3 March 2019

    Philanthropy and education — A wolf in sheep’s clothing

    By Antonio Olmedo, University of Bristol  & Carolina Junemann, UCL Institute of Education, London In our latest report entitled In sheep’s clothing: Philanthropy and the privatisation of the ‘democratic’ state , we seek to advance our existing knowledge on the shape and new roles of philanthropic actors at different levels...

    Philanthropy and education — A wolf in sheep’s clothing