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ERIC Number: EJ795002
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 27
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 33
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1474-9041
Studying the Supra-National in Education: GATS, Education and Teacher Union Policies
Fredriksson, Ulf
European Educational Research Journal, v3 n2 p415-441 2004
This article starts by putting the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) into a general context of privatisation. It is noted that the privatisation process is in many cases complex and not only about full-scale privatisation of schools. The growing trade in education must be seen in this context. GATS is not an agreement which deals with educational issues from a political or educational perspective, but from a commercial and trade perspective. The purpose of GATS is to liberalise trade in services, which also includes education. Commitments made in GATS negotiations are difficult to withdraw and the protection of commercial interests which GATS provides is stronger than the protection of human rights, in, for example, the Convention of the Right of the Child. The protection given in GATS to public services, including public education, is ambiguous at best and in many cases open to interpretation by Trade Dispute Panels. It can be assumed that such panels will deal with some educational matters in future. Another risk for the future is that governments will use GATS as an excuse for deregulation and privatisation within the education sector. There is also a risk that education will become part of a general negotiation game where governments may have to open up the education market in their own countries in order to get access to other markets and that education policies will increasingly be decided by trade ministers instead of education ministers. The international trade union movement, including Education International, has been critical of GATS and has raised a number of issues. Also, there is a growing concern about GATS among national teacher unions. Many teacher unions have taken different initiatives: produced information material; established a dialogue with governments; and built broader coalitions with other trade unions, student organisations, etc. (Contains 3 tables, 1 figure and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: General Agreement on Trade in Services