Archives for category: International

Last week, Nashville school board member Amy Frogge wrote about her misgivings about Nashville Prep, a charter school with high test scores. She criticized its harsh discipline and its use of a book that contained words and situations that most people would consider inappropriate for children in seventh grade. Her article was called: WARNING! THE CONTENT OF THIS POST IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN!

Many comments responded to her article. This one came from a teacher in England:

“If a teacher did this in the UK, they would be sacked. No Union could support the use of such a book with 12 year-old children. The planning trail for the use of this book should be scrutinised and the person, or persons responsible, must be held to account – it is a form of child abuse and would be totally unacceptable throughout the United Kingdom. As a Foster Carer, I am amazed to read this. As a teacher, I am disgusted that it is a required text in a US Charter School. As an individual, it is a sign of how awful Education is becoming in the USA, the supposed leader of the free world. The Discipline strategies described here would see you charged with assault in the United Kingdom. What I have read beggars belief.

“Something is seriously wrong.”

“Oliver Kingsley,
Vice President,
Liverpool Division of the National Union of Teachers, United Kingdom”

Robin Alexander of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust reports on the results of the British national competition to find and reward the schools that are best at teaching “grit.”

He writes:

The Department for Education–DfE – England’s equivalent to the US Department of Education, but with considerably greater powers – has duly announced the 27 prizewinners in its Character Education competition.

Though the names of the schools are not likely to mean much to US readers, complaints about the award methodology may strike a chord. Schools nominated themselves and then justified their claims to a 23,000 dollar prize for building character, grit and resilience through brief answers to six questions. One of these questions asked for evidence of the impact of their character forming strategies on their students, but critics of the scheme claim that such evidence counted for less than the eloquence of schools’ answers, that these were not independently checked for accuracy, and that the provision of genuinely verifiable evidence was optional.

We have not been told how many of England’s schools entered this bizarre competition (DfE’s remit doesn’t extend to the whole of the UK, to the increasing relief of many in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), but we can safely assume that the overwhelming majority did not. Most, quite simply, will have been too busy to do so. Some will have been unwilling to have their names so publicly linked to what was essentially a pre-election political stunt. Others will have been justly offended by the suggestion that schools didn’t attend to the development of their students’ personal and interpersonal attributes until the UK government told them to, or that without a 23,000 dollar incentive they wouldn’t bother. Others again, as my blog of 30 January suggested, will have objected to being told to replace their carefully conceived and sensitively nurtured efforts in this direction by a recipe from which ethics, communality, plurality, social responsibility and global citizenship are so conspicuously excluded.

Which is not to say that the 27 winners did not deserve to be recognised for the work they do. But no less deserving of recognition are the thousands of schools whose teachers value and nurture ‘character’ but manifest it by not competing with others to advertise the fact.

The DFE announced the winners last February.

Angelo Gavrielatos of Education International insists that we must continue to fight for the right of every child to have access to a free, high-quality public education. EI represents teachers around the world. Please open his article to find the links.

He writes:

As teachers, we know that the realisation of high quality public education for every child remains a work in progress.

Our long-held commitment to achieving it is informed by the fact that a public school, in every community, is a precondition to fulfilling our responsibility as members of an international community to ensure that every child gains access to education.

We also know that if we are serious about achieving excellence and equity for all, public schools must set the standard for high quality education as equity in the provision of education can only be realised if public schools, free and universally accessible, set that standard.

It is not only disappointing, but it is also disturbing that the ideal of quality public education for all is under greater threat today than it has ever been.
This threat has been on public display in recently in the form of articles, or in some cases advertorials by anonymous writers, in publications such as the Economist, which support and promote the emergence and expansion of low fee for-profit private schools in developing countries as the means of providing access to schooling for the children of the poorest of the poor referred to as “clients”. They may as well just refer to children as economic units.

So biased and unsubstantiated was the “journalism” that it provoked an immediate response from highly recognised and respected international agencies like OXFAM and Action Aid to name two, who along with others wrote letters to the editor. Similarly, leading academics also responded condemning the bias.

Dr. Prachi Srivastava, a tenured Associate Professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies specialising in the area of education and international development at the University of Ottawa, who was so “dismayed and surprised” by her name being used to legitimise and endorse low fee for-profit private schools, in addition to a letter to the editor, produced an opinion piece in The Guardian based on her detailed academic research demolishing the claims made in one of the articles.

Whilst not entirely surprised by these advertorials in the Economist – after all , at the time of its publication, the Economist was still 50 percent owned by the world’s largest education corporation, Pearson, which has interests in low fee for-profit private school chains such as Bridge international Academies and Omega in Kenya, Ghana and a number of other countries – as a teacher I was deeply offended by the unwarranted gratuitous attack on teachers and our unions in campaigning for the very best opportunities for every child in every classroom.

As teachers we take our responsibility to our students very seriously. All we ask for, indeed we demand, is that governments fulfil their obligation to their most vulnerable citizens, namely children.

Beyond a legislative guarantee to fulfil their primary obligation to adequately fund and resource public schools, governments must legislate against non-state actors operating schools for profit, particularly when they are in receipt, directly or indirectly, domestically or extraterritorially, of any tax payers dollars intended for the educational well-being of students.(Surely, taxpayers dollars intended for the educational well-being of students shouldn’t be siphoned away to line the pockets of billionaires and global corporations.)

Furthermore, governments must introduce, where non-existent, and enforce legislated regulatory frameworks to ensure high standards in teacher qualifications, curriculum and teaching environments. A social contract, if you like, providing guarantees for students.
In attacking regulation of facilities and teacher qualifications, the Economist makes the outrageous statement, contrary to reams of research and evidence, that: “the quality of facilities, or teachers’ qualifications and pay, have been shown by research in several countries to have no bearing on a school’s effectiveness.”

This astonishing attack on teacher qualifications bells the cat for the prophets of profit. Employing unqualified “teachers” is driven by their business plan to maximise profit. It is no wonder that in a recent article in the Independent that Pearson-supported low fee for-profit chain, Bridge International academies, operating in Kenya and elsewhere, protested a possible government requirement that half, not all, “half of all teachers in any one school should have a recognised teaching qualification and be paid accordingly.”

In all of my professional life, I’ve yet to meet a parent who would prefer their child to be taught by an unqualified teacher. I very much doubt whether the anonymous author of the advertorial or senior figures at Pearson would volunteer their own children to be taught by unqualified ‘teachers’ reading from a script.

If standing up for the right of every child to have access to a rigorous, rich curriculum, taught by well supported qualified teachers in safe environments conducive to good teaching and learning is a crime, we are guilty as charged.

Written by Angelo Gavrielatos
Project Director, The Global Response to
Privatisation and Commercialisation in and of Education

Marc Tucker’s blog reports how top-performing nations select school principals. Most require several years of teaching experience and a long and in-depth course in leadership skills. The report, by Jennifer Craw and Jackie Kraemer, describes the high professionalism required in top-performing nations.

By contrast, some states in the U.S. allow non-educators to become principals.

The U.S. is definitely an outlier.

Joanne Yatvin, veteran educator, now retired after a long career as teacher, principal, superintendent, and president of the National Council of Teachers of English, offers the following observations:

I recently read two articles about education in the New York Times. One recounted the shortage of teachers in many U.S states, while the other was about the shortage of students in rural areas of South Korea. Each article was fascinating in its own way; the first one for its lack of candor about why teachers are in such short supply, and the second for its many details about the range of services still offered in a public school that has only one student left. Let me explain.

The writer of the first article attributes the teacher shortage solely to economics, claiming that the massive teacher layoffs of the past few years were the natural result of the recession and that today’s lack of teacher applicants is due only to “fewer people training to be teachers.” At the same time she says nothing about the number of teachers who have left their jobs voluntarily. Thus she can also avoid mentioning the issues that have rocked the teaching profession and our public schools for the past several years, such as rating teachers by student test scores, the bad-mouthing of public schools in the media, and many governors’ preference for charter schools. She also fails to mention that the states hurting most for teachers offer low salaries and suppress teachers unions.

Admittedly, the second article is of a different genre altogether; it describes the culture in South Korea and explains the economic changes that have sent almost all young families and their children to the industrialized cities. But most interesting to me were the writer’s emphasis on the positive attitudes of local people toward education and his detailed description of the last student’s schooling. He shows readers the student’s positive attitude toward learning and the teacher’s close attention to both the academic and social growth of his student.

As evidence of the community’s continuing dedication to education the writer describes the almost empty school where there are still big screen TVs, computers, table tennis tables, telescopes, book-filled shelves, and musical instruments all the classrooms. In addition, he tells us that a painting teacher and a guitar teacher still come to the school twice a week to give lessons to the lone student. The local educational office delivers two lunches to the school every day.
In recounting all of this, my purpose was not to criticize one writer and praise the other, but to give you just a taste of the differences between the two countries in their treatment of public education. With all our wealth, power, and sense of “American Exceptionalism” we can surely give our schools, our teachers, and our children a better deal than what they have now.

Prachi Srivastava, a professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa, is an expert on the subject of low-fee private schooling. She writes here on the Oxfam blog in response to The Economist’s paean of praise to for-profit private schooling in poor countries. She reviews the research and says that The Economist oversimplified the subject. The research does not support the simplistic view that the private sector is invariably better than the public sector as a provider of education in poor countries. The findings are in fact nuanced.

And this problem remains, after all the research is reviewed:

The growth of the low-fee private sector has been widely attributed to dysfunctional state schools. But state failure should not be tacitly accepted, certainly in light of the evidence. The fact remains that the majority of the poorest, most disadvantaged children in poor countries continue to access dysfunctional state schools. And all of us, including the private sector, have a role to play in making sure they get better.

The following comment was posted in response to Laura Chapman’s comment and critique of for-profit schools in Africa (see below):

My name is Josh Weinstein and another commenter, Laura Chapman, referenced a post that I wrote about my time working at Bridge International Academies. I am including the original post below, but I want to clarify some depictions of my views about for-profit education in developing countries and Bridge International Academies in particular.

For some background, I spent three years working in microfinance, agriculture, and education in Southeast Asia and East and West Africa. I came to Bridge in 2011 when it had 15 schools, and left in 2012 when it had 75 schools. Today it has over 400 schools and has grown considerably. I will address some of Ms. Chapman’s mischaracterizations of my views, and explain why I believe for-profit schools are, on balance, a positive trend to children born into extreme poverty.

First, Ms. Chapman says: “[Josh Weinstein says that] local people saw a contradiction between the Western idea of a liberal education with its emphasis on critical thinking versus the BIA practice of hiring high school graduates to teach from a prepared script. For this reason they automatically assumed that the quality of a Bridge education was poor, and “far below that of more expensive schools.” I did not say that, nor do I believe it. For people living on less than $2 a day, which is the target customer for Bridge schools, the concept of a liberal education is not a consideration. Rather, they evaluate BIA schools relative to public schools, which are underfunded, overcrowded, and serve a fraction of the eligible primary school population at a cost to parents, despite FPE (free primary education) in Kenya. The choice for parents is not between an education emphasizing critical thinking and one offering rote memorization, but fundamentally one that offers higher time-on-task and direct instruction of evidence-based teaching methodologies backed by rigorous testing.

Ms. Chapman quotes an organization called “Global Justice Now” in saying that BIA schools actually cost between $9 and $20 a month, or 68% of the income of someone in Uganda. That is also false – I’ve included the article she references below and the figure is unsourced. I performed the cost- and affordability analysis for BIA schools in 2012, which included detailed data gathering from teams of researchers in slums around Nairobi. In fact, BIA schools, at a cost of 400 Kenyan shillings (~$5) were considerably cheaper than the alternatives. Her statement about the cost of BIA schools is patently false.

Finally, I will make two points. First, BIA did not create the concept of a low-cost private school. It merely focused on streamlining operations to enable economies of scale that would allow it to focus on teacher training and curriculum development – the most important elements of an education. Many, if not most, of BIA students came from other private schools, run by churches, non-profits, or entrepreneurs. Students who could not get into public schools or whose parents did not feel the education was good enough also sent their kids to BIA schools. These parents are discerning consumers of education, and wanted the best for their children. They evaluated schools based on what skills students learn and how they perform on homework and how quickly they learn English and other skills. To assume that they do not what is best for them is paternalistic at best, and harmful at worst.

Second, criticisms in this and other articles ignore fundamental realities about life for the poorest of the poor. The conditions for people living in slums is dire, and the education systems of the countries mentioned in the article are rife with corruption (which is well-detailed). To make a blanket assumption that education is a public good and should be government-run refuses to acknowledges the harsh realities of life in the slums. If BIA succeeds, it will provide parents an alternative to education their children. Or, it will force governments to reconsider their own approach to public education. Either way, it is a good thing for children with few opportunities to escape the unfortunate circumstances into which they were born.

If you have any questions, please email me at jwduke109@gmail.com

My article: http://developeconomies.com/education-3/do-for-profit-schools-give-low-income-people-a-real-choice/

Further Reading:

“The Beautiful Tree” by James Tooley – http://www.amazon.com/The-Beautiful-Tree-Educating-Themsleves/dp/1939709121

Randomized controlled trials of private education from Jameel Poverty Action Lab: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/private-school-incentive-program-pakistan

Josh Weinstein was responding to this comment by Laura Chapman:


I have been looking into Pearson’s second quarter 2015 report and the international marketplace for education.

Pearson has announced that it is in the process of selling many of its publications in order to concentrate on the education market. Although Pearson has lost big testing contracts in the United States it still has monopolies such as edTAP for teacher education and North America is still Pearson’s largest market.

In higher education, Pearson expects fairly stable college enrollments, less yearly churn in courseware, and growth in its online services and VUE (a platform for tests and 450 certifications).

For the pre-K-12 market, Pearson says “the possibility of further policy related disruption remains” but that they “expect greater stability in courseware and assessments with growth in virtual schools.”

Pearson has offices in more than 55 countries. It sees Growth markets in Brazil, China, and India, especially in English language learning and test preparation, almost all of this on-line. Overall, the company is “investing in courseware, assessment and qualifications (certifications), managed services, and schools and colleges. Pearson is planning for “a smaller number of global products and platforms for delivering infrastructure and “common systems and processes.”

Pearson is not the only international player and there are back-scratching relationships in reving up for international projects. For example, Pearson is one of the investors in Bridge International Academies (BIA) offering “Academy-in-a-Box programs from nursery school to grade 6 in over 400 schools. These schools are in Nigeria (world headquarters), Uganda, Kenya, and they are expanding to India. The World Bank has given $10 million to BIA in Africa. At least $30 million more has come from U.S. venture capitalists— Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar (founder of EBay) and also from Pearson.

Profits are made by offering a fully scripted curriculum in small schools. These schools are staffed by local instructors who are high school graduates, along with an Academy Manager who oversees and audits classroom instruction, recruits students, and communicates with parents and the local community.

According to BIA’s website, “Teacher scripts are delivered through data-enabled tablets, which seamlessly sync with our headquarters, giving us the ability to monitor lesson pacing in addition to providing the scripts themselves, recording attendance, and tracking assessments in real-time. We also create our own books, manipulatives, instructional songs, symbols for enforcing positive behavioral management, and more, which we are able to produce locally at an extremely low cost.”

Billing, payments, expense and payroll processing, prospective admissions, and the like are taken care of by “smartphone apps” tailored for the Academy Manager and for the Teachers’ tablet. The assessment platform in Kenya is called Tangerine:Class™ a mobile system for doing continuous, formative assessments with tracking of individual students.

Professional educators in each nation “managed by TFA alumni with master’s degrees” build the curriculum to meet national requirements. A video team films lessons for a version of field-testing the curriculum. Curriculum writers review the videos, looking for evidence of student engagement, comprehension, and retention of content. Student exams are used to identify weaknesses in the curriculum and review teacher performance.”

The curriculum explains what teachers should do and say during any given moment of a class, step-by-step. The marketing pitch is: “This allows us to bring best-in-class instruction, international and local research, and curriculum specialists into every one of our classrooms” and …”standardize our high-quality instruction across all of our academies.” …Because of our highly efficient delivery mechanism (marrying talented individuals from each community with technology, scripted instruction, rigorous training, and data-driven oversight), Bridge is able to bring some of the world’s greatest instruction and pedagogical thinking into every classroom in every village and slum in the world.”

BIA outcomes are currently tracked through products from RIT International, a US-based think tank in the process of commercializing some services and products. Bridge is using the Early Grade Reading Assessment (adapted for 40 countries in 60 languages) and the Early Grade Math Assessment (adapted for 10 countries and languages). Some school operations are monitored through Snapshop of School Management Effectiveness (adapted for 16 countries and 12 languages). RIT is a major contractor for almost every branch of the US government, foreign governments, foundations, and other groups.

According to Josh Weinstein who worked on data analytics for BIA in Nairobi, local people saw a contradiction between the Western idea of a liberal education with its emphasis on critical thinking versus the BIA practice of hiring high school graduates to teach from a prepared script. For this reason they automatically assumed that the quality of a Bridge education was poor, and “far below that of more expensive schools.”

Even so, Josh thought that Bridge was a fairly low-cost improvement over non-formal schools and government schools with little in-house teacher training. Josh was in charge of routine testing of 3,000 Bridge students matched with peers at government and other non-formal schools. So far, Josh says there are strong gains in basic reading relative to peers, and less strong, but still measurable, gains in math.

Josh (a global entrepeneur) was impressed that data is being used to improve the business model–profits, educational outcomes, efficiencies in ancillary services, the location of schools, and web-site performance. He said that policies can be examined on short notice and “changes can easily be rolled out across every single school.” He said that each school is profitable at a relatively small size, so more schools means revenue for scaling up.”

A group called “Global Justice Now” claimed that the real total cost of sending one child to a Bridge school is not the advertised $5 to $6 a month. It is $9 to $13 a month, and up to $20 a month with school meals. In Kenya, sending three children to BIA would represent 68% of the monthly income of half the population. In Uganda, sending three children to BIA would represent 75% of the monthly income of half the population.”

Anyone reasonably attuned to developments in American education will not find it difficult to see the scale of infiltration of TFA viewpoints and practices into the international marketplace. Moreover the same billionaires, corporate and international players are dominating the landscape.

Anyone with an eye to developments in American education can also see the pretense of representing ‘the world’s greatest instruction and pedagogical thinking” as scripted instruction, with data-driven oversight, apps for everything, and unacknowledged colonial values.

Several notable civil society groups have spoken out against the World Bank’s support for privatization of education in Africa, specifically Kenya and Uganda. The privatization movement gains in strength to the extent that governments fail to provide adequate funding for public education.

Private, for-profit schools in Africa funded by the World Bank and U.S. venture capitalists have been criticized by more than 100 organizations who’ve signed a petition opposing the controversial educational venture.

A May statement addressed to Jim Kim, president of the World Bank, expressed deep concern over the global financial institution’s investment in a chain of private primary schools targeting poor families in Kenya and Uganda and called on the institution to support free universal education instead.

The schools project is called Bridge International Academies and 100,000 pupils have enrolled in 412 schools across the two nations. BIA is supported by the World Bank, which has given $10 million to the project, and a number of investors, including U.S. venture capitalists NEA and Learn Capital. Other notable investors include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar and Pearson, a multinational publishing company.

In a speech delivered in April, Kim praised BIA as a means to alleviate poverty in Kenya and Uganda. Critics responded that many Kenyans and Ugandans cannot afford private education, further arguing that this type of investment merely supports Western businesses at the expense of local public services.

A section of the letter addressed to Kim asserts:

“We, civil society organisations and citizens of Kenya and Uganda, are appalled that an organisation whose mandate is supposed to be to lift people out of poverty shows such a profound misunderstanding and disconnect from the lives and rights of poor people in Kenya and Uganda. If the World Bank is serious about improving education in Kenya and Uganda, it should support our governments to expand and improve our public education systems, provide quality education to all children free of charge, and address other financial barriers to access.”

Opposition to educational neocolonialism

The statement reflects a growing global movement questioning Western policies pushing private education in developing countries. It was written and signed by 30 organizations in Uganda and Kenya and supported by 116 organizations around the world, including Global Justice Now and ActionAid. They claim BIA uses highly standardized teaching methods, untrained low-paid teachers, and aggressive marketing strategies targeted at poor households.

As this article in the Independent (UK) explains in detail, there is an exciting business opportunity in poor nations: developing and delivering scripted lessons at a low cost without government schools. The headline asks the central question: Is this “an audacious answer” to the problems of bringing schooling to the poorest children?

American investors think so. They like the idea of creating for-profit, low-cost schools where the lessons are exactly the same in every classroom, and the teacher is guided by technology to speak as he or she is told. This does not require credentialed teachers, and the training is minimal.

Charging $6 a month on average, Bridge InternationalAcademies, a multinational for-profit chain, is offering schooling about as cheaply as it can be done. Its founders hope to roll that out to 10 million children across Africa and Asia, the key to its own longevity and, it hopes, the global educational conundrum that has bedevilled policy-makers.

Bridge International now has some 400 schools across Uganda and Kenya. Investors worry, however, that the corporation “faces a potent threat to its survival in the shape of radical new teacher training proposals that would drive up the cost and put it beyond the reach of those that need it most.” The government of Kenya is considering requiring teachers to have pedagogical training, which would drive up the cost and threaten the entire enterprise. It would also signal to the world, says one investor, that no one should invest in Kenya.

Bridge currently enrolls 126,000 children; the profit begins when it reaches half a million. The market is promising.

Says the article: Bridge is arguably the most audacious answer yet to the question of how to bring education to the masses in countries where schools are plagued by overcrowding and teacher absenteeism. The lesson plans and script are prepared in the U.S., then delivered by technology to classes in Africa. Its teachers are “most school-leavers” trained by Bridge. School-leavers are what we would call dropouts, presumably high-school dropouts.

Step into any classroom at Bridge and the chances are that the teacher will be uttering exactly the same words that are being uttered in every single Bridge school. A handbook instructs the teacher to look up from the e-book every five seconds, to wait eight seconds for children to answer, and instead of asking the teacher to explain a mathematical concept, the lesson plan takes them through it step by step. “All I have to do is deliver,” said Mary Juma, a Bridge teacher.

While the scripted approach has earned Bridge acclaim, it has also attracted criticism. “It looks hi-tech, but it is really just someone following a lesson plan in a top-down way and not stimulating discussion,” says David Archer, head of programme development at UK charity ActionAid. “It is almost Victorian.”

While global studies of low-cost private schools have produced mixed results, Ms May is convinced that Bridge’s model works. It has commissioned independent evaluations that show children enrolled in its schools significantly outperform their state-educated peers in mathematics and English. The real test, though, will come in November, when a cohort of Bridge’s children will be ready to take the final primary school exams for the first time.

But here is the danger to investors:

Even as Bridge gets its chance to prove whether its model works, regulatory hurdles threaten to be its undoing. The Kenyan government is setting out new proposals that would radically recalibrate the financial calculations on which these schools operate. Most sweeping of all is a stipulation that half of all teachers in any one school should have a recognised teaching qualification and be paid accordingly.

As usual, it is those “wicked” teachers’ unions that threaten this bold and possibly financially rewarding experiment.

Angelo Gavrielatos is the executive director of Education International, an association of teachers’ unions from around the world. Previously he led the Australian Teachers Federation.

Gavrielatos writes: The case for a Global Response to the Commercialisation and Privatisation of Education is not only clear, it is urgent. In the context of the many challenges that confront public education systems globally, the increasing commercialisation and privatisation in and of education represent the greatest threat to education as a public good and to equality in education access and outcomes.

It should therefore not be of any surprise to anyone that this issue dominated the proceedings of the 7th World Congress of Education International (EI)[i], which took place between 22-26 July in Ottawa, Canada, Noting the dimension and the threat to students, teachers, education support personnel and quality public education for all posed by the ongoing commercialisation and privatisation of education, the World Congress , consisting of nearly 2,000 delegates, resolved that we need a global response to the rapidly expanding for-profit corporate sector involvement in education. Whilst this carries on from EI’s existing work on privatisation and member organisation national campaigns focused on privatisation, the Global Response to the Commercialisation and Privatisation in and of Education aims to draw these efforts together with a view to delivering a stronger more focused response by harnessing collective energy and influence.

This Global Response aims to focus on the engagement of education corporations[ii] in various aspects of education governance, in particular the sale and provision of for-profit education and education services, such as standardised testing and evaluation tools, and policy formation and implementation. It seeks specifically to advocate against the expansion of profit-making in public education where it undermines the right of all students to free quality education, creates and entrenches inequalities in education, undermines the working conditions and rights of teachers and other education workers, and erodes democratic decision-making and public accountability in relation to education governance. This is informed by an analysis highlighting the rapid growth of education corporations/edu-businesses, the size, reach and influence of which had not been foreseen.

With little, if any regard for national borders, the nation state of national sovereignty, the rapid growth of education corporations/edu-businesses is driven by the desire on the part of global capital to access the relatively untapped education market valued at approximately $4.5 to $5 trillion USD per annum. A figure predicted to grow to $6 to S7 trillion USD per annum in a couple of years. Having identified the lucrative nature of the education market, and in particular how much the limitless, sustainable resource of children, our students, and their education represents, global education corporations/edu-businesses have set about trying to influence and control education in order to satisfy their profit motives. This Global Response will also focus on governments which in too many cases are abrogating their obligations to ensuring that every child, every student has access to a high quality free public education by either allowing or indeed facilitating and encouraging the growth in the commercialisation and privatisation of education.

The danger of governments outsourcing education activities to profit-making corporations is that it makes it possible for these actors to not only ‘reap uncontrolled profit’, but also to assert their influence in policy processes and to steer education agendas in ways that may not align with international agreements and national priorities. This poses a risk not only for public education systems themselves, but also their ability to promote democracy, social cohesion and equity.

Moreover, it raises fundamental questions about whose interests are being served by these developments in education, and with what outcomes. Now more than ever, the global political landscape and the growing influence and dominance of global corporate actors require us all to reach out and build community alliances in a way we have never done so before if we are to resist and, more importantly, reverse current trends. Failure to do so will put at risk that great social enterprise of public education. [i] Education International (EI) is the Global Union Federation which represents more than 32 million teachers and other education workers form more than 170 countries. [ii]

Among the most influential corporations operating in the global education market is the education conglomerate Pearson. Through aggressive lobbying, campaign contributions and PR efforts, Pearson exerts great influence over policymaking and policymakers in many countries. Describing what could be interpreted as giving rise to a potential conflict of interest, new research by Jünemann and Ball, Pearson and PALF: The Mutating Giant http://www.educationincrisis.net/resources/ei-publications highlights why the profit motive has no place in dictating what is taught, how it is taught, how it is assessed nor how schools, colleges and universities are organised. Of Pearson’s modus operandi, Jünemann and Ball note: “as Pearson is contributing to the global education policy debate, it is constructing the education policy problems that will then generate a market for its products and services in the form of the solutions. In effect, part of the more general aim of activities like the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund (PALF)…is the creation of more market opportunities for Pearson’s products. More generally, global education reform packages which include the use of information technology and shifts from input-based to output-led policy-making, offer a whole new set of market opportunities to Pearson.

Pearson is involved both in seeking to influence the education policy environment, the way that policy ‘solutions’ are conceived, and, at the same time, creating new market niches that its constantly adapting and transforming business can then address and respond to with new ‘products’. In this sense, the fulfilment of social purpose is directly and indirectly related to the search for and creation of new opportunities for profit…”(p3) Education International Internationale de l’Éducation Internacional de la Educación Angelo Gavrielatos, Project Director | Brussels |Belgium Tel.:+32 2 224 06 11 | Fax: +32 2 224 06 06| http://www.ei-ie.org

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