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Challenging the global market in education - building international solidarity in post-school education: a conference

One of the biggest challenges facing the global academic community, is the threat from the marketplace and private finance, which threatens academic freedom, the integrity of research and teaching, and the collegiality and public ethos of our universities and tertiary education providers.

UCU's Challenging the Global Market in Education conference, held at London University's Institute of Education, became the stage for a series of landmark agreements signed with international education unions on 9 May 2009. The agreements committed the signatory unions to share knowledge and develop cross-border campaigning strategies in order to defend academic and employment standards across the globe. Eleven unions from all over the world have agreed to sign and we hope to announce more soon.

The conference also saw 100 participants from around the world begin to share ideas and experience about the marketisation of education around the world and how to build a worldwide campaign to defend public education. Participants particularly emphasised the need to make the documents practically meaningful to members and to use them to reject the marketisation of education and develop an alternative vision of education as a global public good.

Participants were also conscious of the underlying historic context, and the negative features of globalisation, particularly in the exploitation often associated with migrations, including indentured and slave labour and other  forms of coercion, which continue to this day.

Last updated: 29 January 2020