- Education is not for sale: teachers’ unions pluri-scalar struggles against liberalising the education sector
- Book title
- Globalization, knowledge & labour: education for solidarity within spaces of resistance
- Number of pages
- London: Routledge
- Rethinking globalizations
- Volume | Edition (Serie)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which pushes for a progressive liberalization of education all over the world, is being widely contested. Teachers unions and other education stakeholders have opposed and campaigned against the GATS in different countries and at a range of geographical scales from the local to the global. Despite the structural power of the WTO, non-state actors from the education field have affected the outcomes of the GATS negotiations and, consequently, the form and content of the new global trade in education regime that the Agreement promotes.
This paper explores how non-state actors, their ideas and strategies, are key elements to understanding the constitution of the global liberalisation process entailed by the GATS. Specifically, it shows how the scalar interaction and the organization of the struggle at different scales is a key impact factor. The paper also contains findings that can contribute to a better understanding of the role of civil society organisations in global governance processes and their contribution towards a new complex multilateralism.
The arguments of the article are based on an in-depth case study over the role of Education International, the biggest international federation of teacher unions, on the local and global struggles against the GATS. As we will see, Education International has managed to introduce the subject of the GATS into the global public domain - by means of an intense effort of construction and dissemination of knowledge - and has made local stakeholders aware that through political action they can alter the course of these negotiations.
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