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 25 November 2022

    Sportswashing edtech: how a World Cup corporate sponsor is playing with education

    Ben Williamson

    Education technology companies do not usually sponsor global sports tournaments. The brand logo of Byju’s, however, is currently displaying in football grounds in Qatar, after becoming an official FIFA World Cup sponsor . But the most highly-valued EdTech company on the planet is also carrying a lot of recent reputational...

    Sportswashing edtech: how a World Cup corporate sponsor is playing with education
  2. Opinion 24 November 2022

    The Copyright Experience of the University of the South Pacific: a Union Perspective

    Elizabeth Reade Fong

    Legislation is meant not only to protect but to bring equity. And copyright legislation is not meant to be any different. However, the reality on the ground in a developing country like Fiji has only reinforced the inequity of access to and, more importantly, the use of information for learning...

    The Copyright Experience of the University of the South Pacific: a Union Perspective
  3. News 4 November 2022

    From research to global action for quality public education

    Education International brought together over 100 leading researchers from education unions across the globe to explore how research can underpin union action for quality education.

    From research to global action for quality public education
  4. News 26 October 2022

    Francophone education unions want to put governments back on track to achieve quality education

    The Comité syndical francophone de l'éducation et de la formation (CSFEF), which brings together trade union representatives of French-speaking organisations affiliated to Education International, held its 18th CSFEF meeting in Hammamet, Tunisia, from 13 to 15 October. The debates focused, among other things, on the conditions for trade union activity,...

    Francophone education unions want to put governments back on track to achieve quality education
  5. News 25 October 2022

    Ghana: Campaign against privatisation and commercialisation of education

    The multi- education union initiative aims to counter privatisation and its harmful impact on education

    Taking stock of results achieved, member organisations of the Campaign Against the Privatisation and Commercialisation of Education (CAPCOE) have deplored an expanding privatisation of education – especially at basic level – in Ghana’s remote areas, they welcomed the teacher’s higher level of training as well as the reduction of the...

    Ghana: Campaign against privatisation and commercialisation of education
  6. Opinion 25 October 2022

    Teachers, not computers, are the beating heart of education

    Susan Hopgood

    More than 130 countries committed to prioritise education at the United Nation’s Transforming Education Summit (TES), a global meeting of Heads of State held in September in New York.

    Teachers, not computers, are the beating heart of education
  7. Opinion 14 October 2022

    Public-Private Partnerships at no cost to the State & to Society – Is this possible?

    Carolina Finette

    In this blog post, I share my personal trajectory as a teacher experiencing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the Brazil countryside and urge stakeholders to reflect on the problems involving such partnerships to education. In addition, I reflect on how such PPPs are a result of the lack of financing in...

    Public-Private Partnerships at no cost to the State & to Society – Is this possible?
  8. Opinion 18 September 2022

    Teachers are ready to transform education — it’s time for governments to step up

    David Edwards

    Despite the global crises facing the world, the power and optimism inherent in education will always provide hope for our future. To move forward from this pandemic, and the deepening inequities it exposed, we need to transform education by fully funding public education systems and investing in, supporting, and respecting...

    Teachers are ready to transform education — it’s time for governments to step up
  9. Opinion 8 September 2022

    The unheard impact: technology and the teaching profession

    Lainie Keper

    Education International (EI) recently hosted a consultation event to provide feedback into the 2023 Global Education Monitoring Report on technology and education.

    The unheard impact: technology and the teaching profession
  10. News 30 August 2022

    Nigeria: Union deeply advocating free quality public education

    For many years now , the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Nigeria has been pushing for public education. Efforts include joining Education International’s Global Response campaign to counter the privatisation of education institutions, which undermines the right to education.

    Nigeria: Union deeply advocating free quality public education
  11. News 26 August 2022

    Nepal: Privatisation does not ensure equal access to education, more investment in public education is needed

    The Research “Lessons from the COVID- Pandemic in Nepal” analyses the impact of COVID-19 on education, highlights the role of teacher unions in protecting the rights of teachers and calls for policy measures to protect decent learning conditions for students and decent employment conditions for teachers.

    Nepal: Privatisation does not ensure equal access to education, more investment in public education is needed
  12. Take action! 19 July 2022

    Teachers around the world mobilise to transform education. Join us!

    1.6 billion students were out of school at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions are still struggling with trauma and learning loss. Teachers and education workers have done the impossible to support their students and school communities in this time of crisis. But the crushing workloads, poor pay, and...

    Teachers around the world mobilise to transform education. Join us!
  13. News 5 July 2022

    Nigeria: Teachers call for more investment in public education to combat growing privatisation

    The national president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Audu Titus Amba, expressed concerns over the proliferation of unregulated private schools in Nigeria. These schools, with the sole aim of making profit, are detrimental to the achievement of quality education for all.

    Nigeria: Teachers call for more investment in public education to combat growing privatisation
  14. Publications

    Education versus austerity

    Why public sector wage bill constraints undermine teachers and public education systems -and must end
    24 June 2022

    At least 69 million more teachers are needed by 2030 to achieve the sustainable development goal on education, yet around the word existing teachers face low pay and deteriorating conditions, affecting the status of the profession. There is a clear common cause uniting low pay and teacher shortages – both...

    Education versus austerity
    1. Education versus austerity-Policy brief
  15. Opinion 13 June 2022

    Why the education community should be paying attention to the WTO E-commerce Work Programme

    Michael Geist

    E-commerce has emerged in recent years as critical part of commercial activity. With mounting online sale of goods and delivery of services, the implications of e-commerce for the education community arise at both the commercial and policy levels. Indeed, e-commerce and online education delivery played an increasingly prominent and important...

    Why the education community should be paying attention to the WTO E-commerce Work Programme
  16. E-commerce, Education and Copyright: A Policy Brief

    by Michael Geist
    13 June 2022

    In the context of the World Trade Organisation’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva on 12-15 June 2022, Education International calls on governments to deliver a comprehensive intellectual property waiver on Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and tests and warns of the risk of increasing commercialisation of education and research due to...

    E-commerce, Education and Copyright: A Policy Brief
    1. Download