Launch of the Call of the Francophone civil society against commercialisation of education

In response to civil society’s mobilisation, 57 heads of States make a landmark commitment against commercialisation of education

Press release by 58 organisations, 2 December 2016

(Antananarivo, Nairobi, Uganda, Paris, Port-au-Prince, Quebec, Rabat) Whilst last Sunday 57 head 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, a group of 302 organisations from 38 countries of the Francophone area launches this week 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 at 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.”

Key documents

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…).



# Organisation Country Contact
1. Amnesty International Mali Mali

2. Amnesty International/ Senegalese Section Senegal
3. ANCEFA International
4. Association Tchadienne pour le Bien Etre Familial Tchad
5. BANI BA HAW Niger
6. Campagne Mondiale pour l’Éducation International
7. Carrefour de la Famille Marocaine Morocco
8. CEMEA-F France
10. Centre d’Actions pour la sécurité alimentaire et le Développement Durable Benin
11. Centre d’assistance à la diffusion des méthodes d’éducation active Russia
12. Centres d’Entraînement aux Méthodes d’Education Active du Sénégal (CEMEA Sénégal) Senegal
13. Coalition Éducation France
14. Coalition Nationale pour l’Education Pour Tous du Burkina Faso Burkina Faso
15. Coalition Nationale Togolaise pour l’Education Pour Tous Togo
16. Coalition Nigérienne des Associations, Syndicats et ONG de Campagne EPT (ASO-EPT Niger) Niger
17. Comité National de Développement des Réseaux pour l’Education en Afrique de l’Ouest (CNDREAO Sénégal) Senegal
18. CONAMEPT Madagascar
20. Conseil des Activités Educatives du Bénin (CAEB) Benin
21. Conseil National des ONG de Développement DRC
22. Construisons Ensemble le Monde DRC
23. CSFEF International
24. Défense des enfants international Belgique Belgium
26. Edugestion Cameroun Cameroon
27. Fédération des Aroéven France
28. Fédération des Syndicats Libres de l’Enseignement Roumania
29. FICEMEA International
30. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights International
31. Graine de paix (AGP) Algeria
32. Héritiers de la Justice RDC
33. IDEF – Initiatives pour le Développement communautaire et la conservation de la Forêt Ivory Coast
34. Jeunesse et Emplois Verts pour une Economie Verte Benin
35. Maan promotion économique et culturelle des personnes risquant la précarité Tunisia
36. Migrations Co-développement Alsace France / Morocco
37. Miroir Vagabond Belgium
38. Mouvement Anfass Démocratique Morocco
39. Mouvement Associatif pour l’Education et l’Egalité des Chances Comoros
40. ONG Changement Social Bénin Benin
41. Plan International France France
42. PROCEDH Haiti
43. Réalisation Téléformation Animation Belgium
44. Regroupement Education Pour Toutes et pour Tous Haiti
45. Réseau des Acteurs de Développement de l’Éducation au Bénin (RADEB) Bénin
46. Réseau des Organisations pour le Développement de l’Éducation au Burkina (RODEB) Burkina Faso
47. Réseau des Organisations pour le Développement de l’Éducation au Burkina (RODEB) Burkina Faso
48. Réseau Ivoirien pour la Promotion de l’Education Pour Tous (RIP-EPT) Ivory Coast

49. Réseau Nigérien pour le Développement de la Femme (RENIDEF) Niger
50. Réseau Progrès et Développement Humanitaire du Niger (REPRODEVH-NIGER) Niger
51. Réseau Wallon de lutte contre la Pauvreté (RWLP) Belgium
52. Re-Sources Enfances Belgium
53. Right to Education Project International
54. SNESUP-FSU France
55. Solidarité Laïque France

56. SOLIDARITE-UNAFETPCI (Union Nationale des Formateurs de l’Enseignement Technique et Professionnel de Côte d’Ivoire) Ivory Coast

58. Syndicat alternatif et indépendant du personnel de l’Education de La Réunion 2 France

Categories Right to education | Tags: | Posted on December 1, 2016

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