24 May 2019 – Union leaders have gathered in Costa Rica to discuss how to take the global response against the privatisation of education to the next level.
“Students before profit” is the name that the Global Response against the commercialisation and privatisation of education of Education International (EI) has taken on among its Latin American members. Leaders from Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Uruguay attended a three day seminar in order to discuss the next steps of this program that was launched in 2015 after the last World Congress of EI.
Carmen Brenes, General Secretary of ANDE Costa Rica and vice-president of the Latin American region of EI (IEAL), stressed the connection between privatisation and anti-union strategies in different countries. She was joined by Fátima Silva, General Secretary of CNTE Brazil and also vice-president of IEAL, who stressed the importance of defining a strategy in the lead to EI’s 8th World Congress in July 2019.
The director of the Global Response campaign, Angelo Gavrielatos, offered an overview of the actions taken so far and stressed that one of its strong points was that it was a research-based advocacy effort.
“There is no bigger threat for quality public education than privatisation and commercialisation,” Gavrielatos reminded the audience. “Research driving action has been critical in helping us challenge the hegemonic narrative promoting privatisation around the globe. It has also given rise to a new, inspired, level of direct action and solidarity with the union movement leading the fight back against the commercialisation and privatisation of education.” He went on to stress the importance of a coordinated national, regional and global strategy to counter privatisation.