Commercialisation and privatisation in/of education in the context of Covid-19

published 15 July 2020 updated 17 August 2021
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The Covid-19 emergency has affected education systems worldwide. The ‘pivot’ to ‘online learning’ and ‘emergency remote teaching’ has positioned educational technology (edtech) as an integral component of education globally, bringing private sector and commercial organisations into the centre of essential educational services.

The effects are likely to persist for some time, first of all in temporary ‘blended’ models of ‘socially distanced’ schooling during the period of pandemic recovery, and perhaps for longer in ‘hybrid’ approaches in which edtech is embedded in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and school management.

This report explores how privatisation and commercialisation of education have advanced during the 2020 pandemic, with a particular focus on edtech. It maps out the activities of a range of organisations, considering their consequences for the future of education beyond the crisis, and identifying key issues, research priorities and recommendations to be considered as education systems begin the process of recovery.