Education a public good

From crisis to opportunity

Not for Sale? Early childhood education as public good and public responsibilityThe dictatorship of no alternatives

It works for railways, water supply and prisons we are told. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that we are too, told that the only way forward for under resourced public education lies in handing it over to private-for-profit providers. According to powerful international agents the widespread privatisation of schools and universities is not only inevitable, it is utterly desirable and nothing but another case of TINA (There Is No Alternative). In consequence, private educational activities have become an increasingly regular part of educational provision in many countries; a trend that is nurtured by an increasingly unashamed embracing of neo-liberal ideology in all aspects of human life. As Roberto Unger puts it: ‘the world suffers under a dictatorship of no alternatives’ (Unger, 2005 p. 1).

In recent years, a growing body of research has emerged, addressing the global trend towards privatisation, commodification and globalisation in compulsory and higher education in its various forms and regional manifestations (Spring, 2008, e.g. Macpherson et al., 2014, Ball, 2007, Ball, 2012, Ball et al., 2012). Despite a relatively good understanding of the overall picture of privatisation, we know comparatively little about the impacts of privatisation on the youngest children, their families and communities. There are indications, however, that private provision of early childhood education and care can result in poor quality of provision and in an increase of social exclusion.

Privatisation in Early Childhood Education (PECE) (Urban and Rubiano, 2015) comprises case studies from 14 countries, based on information provided by Education International member organisations. Main purpose of the study was to create a better understanding of how education professionals and organisations (unions) experience the phenomenon of privatisation, make sense of what is going on, and perceive the impacts and implications.

Learning to Stand and Speak: Women, Education, and Public Life in America's Republic (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
Book (The University of North Carolina Press)
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