Education International has slammed the influential role played by Australia in bringing education within the little-known Trades in Services Agreement (TISA), saying the move was “auctioning off our school systems”.
The comments were made at Education International’s (EI) seventh World Congress in Ottawa in July at which AEU Secretary Susan Hopgood was re-elected EI’s president.
“Only recently, we learned that four nations — Australia, Norway, New Zealand, and Colombia — are secretly promoting the inclusion of ‘education services’ in TISA,” EI Secretary-General Fred van Leeuwen said.
“We have exposed their conduct and insisted that they stop auctioning off our school systems.”
The fact came to light in June thorough Wikileaks, which leaked TISA documents that would not have been made public for five years after the deal took effect. The leaks show Australia wants the removal of all restrictions on foreign private providers of education that are encroaching steadily into Australia’s secondary and tertiary education systems.
Federation President Maurie Mulheron referred to the TISA implications for Australia in a speech at Annual Conference.
In Australia, edu-business is insistently knocking on doors. Last month News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch brought to Australia Joel Klein, head of News Corp’s Amplify, which produces tablets and digital resources pushed heavily into the US and British schools systems.
At the EI Congress a top United Nations official condemned the “alarming” encroachment of edu-business into public school systems while a senior OECD official emphasised that good education depended upon the building up of a quality teaching force.