Press release by 58 organisations, 2 December 2016
(Antananarivo, Nairobi, Uganda, Paris, Port-au-Prince, Quebec, Rabat)
As 57 heads of State and Governments of the Francophonie raised concerns regarding the development of commercialisation of education and reaffirmed their commitment in favour of public quality education in a landmark common declaration, 302 organisations from 38 countries of the Francophone area will this week launch a Call of the Francophone civil society against commercialisation of education.
This call represents an exceptional mobilisation of the Francophone civil society, in response to the unprecedented global phenomenon of privatisation of education.
“Many African countries have seen an explosion in the number of private schools during the last decade, in particular low quality low cost schools, which target the poorest people. Since 2000, the share of private institutions at the primary level has for instance increased from 10% to 17% in Burkina Faso and fivefold in Mauritania”, observes Samuel Dembelé, president of the Africa Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA).
Similarly, in Morocco, where the share of private education has more than tripled in only fifteen years, “the State has failed in its role of ensuring schools for all. Today the Moroccan State encourages privatisation and commercialisation of education as a solution to educational challenges faced by the country. The Head of government even declared that the moment had come for the State to disengage from education and health provision”, declares Ibtissam Mzibr, General Secretary of the Mouvement Anfass Démocratique (Morocco).
Yet, “research in many countries has demonstrated that privatisation of education has disastrous effects in terms of quality of educational content, of segregation and socio-economic inequalities, and hence on the fulfilment of human rights, which contravenes States’ legal obligations,” regrets Sylvain Aubry from the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR),
The Call of the Francophone civil society against commercialisation of education warns against the different forms of commercialisation in the formal and non-formal education sectors, and opposes the transformation of education into a commercial product. It notably calls States to:
- put in place public educational systems of quality and completely free of charge
- regulate private education
- eliminate educational establishments with a commercial purpose
“This Call demonstrates that privatisation of education is a crucial global challenge, and it constitutes an important tool of solidarity, for us who act daily in Haiti to redevelop our public education system, while 80% of educational establishments are private! This is due to decades of abandonment of public education by the Government, and to the support of the private sector by international donors such as the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Education” explains Mona Bernadel, from the Programme Collectif pour le Développement de l'Éducation et du Dialogue Social in Haïti.
In this context, the Antananarivo Declaration, which was signed in conclusion of the 2016 Francophonie Summit which took place in Madagascar on 26th and 27th November, and which includes a great part of the Francophone civil society’s demands, constitutes a major political commitment. The 57 signatory Member States of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) express concerns in paragraph 39 with the “development of academic and educational establishments with a commercial purpose”.
“We are particularly concerned with chains of private schools with a commercial purpose, such as Bridge International Academies, which has over 400 schools in Kenya, Uganda, and Liberia, and which promotes a low-quality and hyper-standardised education model”, denounces Carole Coupez of Solidarité Laïque. “If Francophone countries have not yet been as affected by these chains of schools, it is important that they mobilise prior, and that they promote at the international level another educational model that ensures social justice and the dignity of all”.
Francophone States additionally requested that the OIF, “in collaboration with civil society”, “take measures to promote efficient institutional mechanisms for the regulation of private actors in education, in order to ensure quality and equity of education services”.
Sonia Chebbi, of the Fédération Internationale des Céméa underlines that “the signatories of the Call now expect that the OIF implement this clear request of States: act to put in place efficient regulation of private actors in education. It is crucial to reinforce the joint work of civil society organisations, the OIF and States to defend and protect public educational systems of quality in the formal and non-formal education sectors.”
“The mobilisation of all must continue after this important step. We expect in particular from donor States that they support partner countries in the development of quality public education systems and in the regulation of private actors in education” added Hélène Ferrer, coordinator of the Education Coalition in France.
Luc Allaire, General Secretary of the Comité syndical francophone de l’éducation et de la formation concluded: “Quality education for all will only be achieved through compulsory, free, and universal public education. This is an indispensable tool to end educational inequalities that have been exacerbated by the privatisation and commercialisation of education, in Northern countries as well as in Southern countries.”
- Call of the Francophone civil society against commercialisation of education [in French]: bit.ly/2fKNPmL
- Short version of the Call: bit.ly/2gZ25gN
- Summary of the Call: bit.ly/2gchl5R
- Map of the signatory organisations of the Call: bit.ly/2gE2gOj
- Antananarivo Declaration [in French]: bit.ly/2gMyRS5
- Information on the Antananarivo Declaration in English: bit.ly/2gaodDu
- Information in French on privatisation of education: bit.ly/privfr & bit.ly/2bgvvQj
- Information in English on privatisation of education: bit.ly/1S24suT & bit.ly/educprivat
About the Francophone Network against commercialisation of education
This informal network was originally initiated by six organisations (the French Education Coalition, the Comité syndical francophone de l’éducation et de la formation, the Fédération internationale des Céméa, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Right to Education Project, and Solidarité Laïque) on the occasion of a symposium in March 2016. It now has 302 member organisations which signed the Call of the Francophone civil society against privatisation of education. The Network works to ensure a collective reflection and mobilisation concerning the growing role and impact of private actors in formal and non-formal education throughout the Francophone area, by bringing together in their diversity education actors (NGOs, associations, media, teachers, educators, unions, researchers…).
Amnesty International Mali
Amnesty International/ Senegalese Section
Association Tchadienne pour le Bien Etre Familial
BANI BA HAW
Campagne Mondiale pour l'Éducation
Carrefour de la Famille Marocaine
Centre d'Actions pour la sécurité alimentaire et le Développement Durable
Centre d'assistance à la diffusion des méthodes d'éducation active
Centres d'Entraînement aux Méthodes d'Education Active du Sénégal (CEMEA Sénégal)
Coalition Nationale pour l'Education Pour Tous du Burkina Faso
Coalition Nationale Togolaise pour l'Education Pour Tous
Coalition Nigérienne des Associations, Syndicats et ONG de Campagne EPT (ASO-EPT Niger)
Comité National de Développement des Réseaux pour l'Education en Afrique de l'Ouest (CNDREAO Sénégal)
Conseil des Activités Educatives du Bénin (CAEB)
Conseil National des ONG de Développement
Construisons Ensemble le Monde
Défense des enfants international Belgique
Education Notre Vision (ONG ENVI)
Fédération des Aroéven
Fédération des Syndicats Libres de l'Enseignement
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Graine de paix (AGP)
Héritiers de la Justice
IDEF - Initiatives pour le Développement communautaire et la conservation de la Forêt
Jeunesse et Emplois Verts pour une Economie Verte
Maan promotion économique et culturelle des personnes risquant la précarité
Migrations Co-développement Alsace
France / Morocco
Mouvement Anfass Démocratique
Mouvement Associatif pour l'Education et l'Egalité des Chances
ONG Changement Social Bénin
Plan International France
Réalisation Téléformation Animation
Regroupement Education Pour Toutes et pour Tous
Réseau des Acteurs de Développement de l'Éducation au Bénin (RADEB)
Réseau des Organisations pour le Développement de l'Éducation au Burkina (RODEB)
Réseau des Organisations pour le Développement de l'Éducation au Burkina (RODEB)
Réseau Ivoirien pour la Promotion de l’Education Pour Tous (RIP-EPT)
Réseau Nigérien pour le Développement de la Femme (RENIDEF)
Réseau Progrès et Développement Humanitaire du Niger (REPRODEVH-NIGER)
Réseau Wallon de lutte contre la Pauvreté (RWLP)
Right to Education Project
SOLIDARITE-UNAFETPCI (Union Nationale des Formateurs de l’Enseignement Technique et Professionnel de Côte d’Ivoire)
Syndicat alternatif et indépendant du personnel de l'Education de La Réunion 2