Collective Statement on Public Education

Reclaiming Public Education For All

In a world facing social fragmentation, harmful inequities, and environmental deterioration, we need quality, transformative, inclusive public education now more than ever. As our political systems struggle to resist autocracy and to foster democracy, free public education can help create a well-informed public with the capacity to address these global challenges. 

The public supports public education, and public education works.

Free, quality, inclusive, public education is a human right. Over recent decades, the global community has undertaken the unprecedented endeavour of providing public education to the world’s two billion learners, and creating large-scale, adaptive systems of learning. The State is the duty bearer for public education, obligated to realise the right to education for all learners. This requires States to fulfil and expand their central role. 

Only States have the capacity to address the current enormous educational inequities across gender, race/ethnicity/origin, social class, disability, and many other forms of exclusion. Moreover, the conception of “quality” in education must extend beyond workforce creation and attaining narrow learning metrics. Education technology must not displace teachers and depersonalise learning, nor supplant free, quality, public education provided in school settings. Instead, quality education must address broader human rights objectives, including the full development of the human personality, and foster skills for learners to meet today’s global challenges as informed and active citizens.

The project of ensuring universal and equal education opportunity is at risk due to the rising role of private actors in education. Extensive evidence across countries shows that privatisation of and in education does not improve quality and access, but diminishes education equity, in contravention of human rights law, U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 4, and often, national legislation. The logic of education privatisation and commodification includes specific elements (standardisation, profitability, autonomy, and deregulation) that result in the exclusion and segregation of certain learners, including persons with disabilities. We oppose education privatisation because it runs counter to the vision of equality, not only for low-income and marginalised communities, but for everyone, impeding social cohesion.  

Public education suffers from egregious underfunding. UNESCO estimated an annual financing gap of almost $100 billion in education in 2023. Funding shortfalls stem from tax injustice, aid conditionalities, austerity, and other issues described as “50 Years of Failure,” marking a half century of using neoliberal economic policies in and through international aid. We call for international finance institutions to shift away from austerity and debt, and instead deliver equitable investment in education. At the same time, we oppose diverting scarce public resources to support private actors through entry into public-private partnerships. International finance institutions must not fund K-12 private schools.

Over the past decade, members of the Privatisation in Education and Human Rights Consortium (PEHRC) have worked together to advance the understanding and implementation of the human right to free, inclusive, quality public education, oppose the privatisation of education, and hold governments and institutions to account for their obligations to realise the right to education. As a group of civil society organisations, the Consortium refutes the vision of education as an individual good within inequitable systems where learners born into wealthy families benefit at the expense of learners born into low income families, and where education providers reap considerable profits to the detriment of universal, high quality education for all learners.  

Instead, we, the undersigned, call on States to realise the human right to free, inclusive quality public education for all learners, throughout life. We believe that the future of human society depends on our collective commitment to public education. We, the undersigned organisations, movements, and individuals, call on everyone, especially States, to protect against private actors supplanting the public interest and to fulfil the human right to quality, publicly well-funded, free public education. 

Specifically, we call for action in five key areas:

  1. Prioritise the public. We call on all education actors to prioritise the provision of quality, public, inclusive, free education for all. As described in the Our Future is Public manifesto, we call on States to prioritise the public sector in general.
  2. Robustly fund public education. Governments should achieve the minimum benchmark recommended during the Transforming Education Summit of allocating 6% of GDP and 20% of public expenditure to education to realise the right to education and teachers’ labour rights and well-being—as well as taking national and global action on tax, debt, and austerity as recommended in the TES Call to Action on Financing
  3. Stop funding education privatisation. States, development finance institutions, investors, funders, and intermediaries should ensure their funding does not support private, particularly, commercial/for-profit education. Such programs often exacerbate segregation and discrimination, erode free education, dilute curricula, fail to meet minimum quality standards, and reduce democratic oversight. Public funds should exclusively fund public education.
  4. Regulate and enforce regulations on private actors. States must regulate private actors, in particular to avoid conflicts of interest by private actors shaping regulatory processes that govern their activities. States must invest in enforcing laws already in existence and develop new, strong regulation to protect the right to education. 
  5. A narrative change. Despite well-funded public relations campaigns claiming that education privatisation solves problems that the State cannot fix, evidence shows otherwise. We call for a change in the narrative that instead highlights the successes of public education. Public education works when it receives suitable support from States. The public supports public education across the world. 

 

Please sign the statement and join us in the process of advocating for States to realise the full potential of public education. Our future depends on it!

Join the movement

Sign the statement and join us in the process of advocating for States to realise the full potential of public education. Our future depends on it!

Institutional Endorsements

Organisation nameCountry
“All for Education!” National Civil Society CoalitionMongolia
Action Contre la Pauvreté, ACPBurundi
Action de Développement Communautaire ” ADC ” en sigle Burundi
Action EducationFrance
ActionAidGlobal
Afghanistan Economic Extensions Studies OrganizationAfghanistan
African Campaign Network for Education for All (ANCEFA)Africa
Agenda Ciudadana por la Educación y Derechos HumanosCosta Rica
Albanian Coalition for Education (ACE)Albania
Alliance Globale Pour l’Education et le Développement (AGEDE)Niger
Arab Campaign for Education for All (ACEA)Middle East
Arab Network for Literacy and Adult Education Other
Arab Network Popular EducationMiddle East
Asia South Pacific Association For Basic And Education (ASPBAE)Asia
Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (Argentina)Argentina
Asosyasyon Kiltirèl SOKIJA (AKS)Haiti
Association pour la Défense et la Promotion des Droits Humains et le Développement Familial, ADDHF-DUKUNDANEBurundi
Avante-Educação e Mobilização SocialBrazil
Brazilian Campaign for the Right to EducationBrazil
Brigade pour L’Éducation et le Développement DurableLatin America and the Caribbean
Campaña Argentina por el Derecho a la Educación (CADE)Argentina
Centre de Recherche et d’ Action Pour le Developpement (CRAD)Haiti
Centre for Transparency and Accountability LiberiaLiberia
Centro de Cultura Luiz Freire (CCLF)Brazil
Centro de Estudios y apoyo Al desarrollo Local Bolivia
Centro de Inovação para a Excelência das Políticas PúblicasBrazil
CESIP – Centro de Estudios Sociales y PublicacionesPeru
Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net) Inc.Philippines
Coalición Colombiana por el Derecho a la EducaciónColombia
Coalición Panameña por el Derecho a la EducaciónPanama
Coalition Education (France)France
coalition nationale de Madagascar pour EPT/CONAMEPTMadagascar
Coalition pour l’Education Pour Tous “BAFASHEBIGE”Burundi
Colectivo de Educacion para Todas y Todos de GuatemalaGuatemala
Colectivo de Género, Acción y PolíticaEcuador
Col·lectiu d’Escoles contra la Segregació (Catalonia)Spain
CONSTRUISONS ENSEMBLE LE MONDECongo {Democratic Rep}
Contrato Social por la EducaciónEcuador
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA)Nigeria
CRCA/ECPAT AlbaniaAlbania
East African Centre for Human Rights (EACHRights)Kenya
Education for All Coalition – Sierra LeoneSierra Leone
Education InternationalGlobal
Equal Education Law CentreSouth Africa
EurodadGlobal
Euskal Eskola Publikoaren Aldeko PlataformaSpain
Foro Dakar-HondurasHonduras
Foro EducativoPeru
FUD SUD-KIVUCongo {Democratic Rep}
FUD SUD-KIVUCongo {Democratic Rep}
Fundación Luis Felipe Vélez Escuela para la VidaColombia
Fundación SESArgentina
Global Campaign for EducationGlobal
Global Campaign for Education – USUnited States
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)Global
Global Students ForumGlobal
Initiative for Social & Economic Rights (ISER)Uganda
Internationale de l’Education AfriqueGhana
Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE)Latin America
Marcha Global contra el Trabajo Infantil – SudaméricaLatin America and the Caribbean
Mayst Marcos de Sousa Santos Sousa SantosBrazil
MenaFem Movement Morocco
MenaFem Movement for Economic Development and Ecological Justice Oceania
Miroir Vagabond asblBelgium
MJL mouvman Jèn LatibonitHaiti
Moroccan Lifelong learning Forum Morocco
Mouvement Ivoirien des Droits Humains (MIDH)Cóte d’Ivoire
Mouvman Jèn Latibonit Haiti
Movimento VIDA SHOPPING NO BRASIL Brazil
National Campaign for Education NepalNepal
Nora González ChacónCosta Rica
Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund – SAIHNorway
OBESSUEurope
OHAPHaiti
OMEP Costa RicaCosta Rica
OMEP VenezuelaVenezuela
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO)Canada
OxfamGlobal
PCOCBMDHaiti
Professor Emivaldo Aires da Silva Brazil
Public Education Exchange. (PEX)Canada
Public Services InternationalGlobal
Red de Educación Ciudadana Infantil – RECIChile
Red de Educación Popular entre Mujeres REPEMLatin America and the Caribbean
Red Estrado Nodo ColombiaColombia
Red Regional por la Educación Inclusiva de LatinoamericaLatin America and the Caribbean
Regroupement Education Pour Toutes et.Tous ( REPT)Haiti
Réseau Ivoirien pour la Promotion de l’Education Pour Tous (RIP-EPT)Cóte d’Ivoire
Results UKUnited Kingdom
Rete degli Studenti MediItaly
Rezo Òganizasyon Nòdwès Haiti
Right to Education Initiative (RTE)United Kingdom
RTE Forum, IndiaIndia
Send My Friend to School CoalitionUnited Kingdom
Share The World’s Resources (STWR)United Kingdom
Solidarité LaïqueFrance
Support Our Students AlbertaCanada
Syndicat National des Agents de la Formation et de l’Education du Niger (SYNAFEN)Niger
The Alternatives ProjectGlobal
Trabalhadores e Trabalhadoras na Luta Socialista – TLSBrazil
Union démocratique des enseignantes et enseignants du Sénégal (UDEN)Senegal
Unión Nacional de Educadores (UNE)Ecuador
Unión Sindical de directivos Docentes de la EducaciónColombia
Education Alert InternationalUganda
EducaTICMali
Association d’Aide à l’Education de l’Enfant Handicapé ( AAEEH) France
World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)Global

Individual Endorsements

NameOccupation / InstitutionCountry
Albin KeucParentSlovenia
Alejandro CaravacaPhD researcherSpain
Alice BesteEducation advocacy United Kingdom
Allan de Oliveira de Matos Professor Brazil
Analisa Zorzi Professor Universidade Federal de PelotasBrazil
Andressa PellandaGeneral Coordinator of the Brazilian Campaign for the Right to Education, popular educator, PhD in SciencesBrazil
Andreu TermesAcademicSpain
Angela Azevedo TeacherBrazil
Anwar TliliAcademicUnited Kingdom
Arturo Portilla ValdiviaDirectivo de CEDER Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Regional – ArequipaPeru
Ashina MtsumiHuman Rights AdvocateKenya
asia jumateacherUganda
Balbona Alfredo CarlosEmpleadoArgentina
Bárbara SilvaActivist , Advocate, teacher, parent, citizenCanada
Bernat FerrerParentSpain
Berta María Espinosa VásquezEducadora de PárvulosChile
Brent EdwardsProfessorUnited States
Camilla CrosoBrazil
Camilla Croso CSO Network Brazil
Carmen AlcívarPsicopedagogaEcuador
Carmen CarrascoCoordinadora del proyecto educativo del consorcio CEMSE-ACLOBolivia
Carol Anne Spreen AcademicUnited States
Christian UbillaCoordinador de CampañaEcuador
Claudel CHOISYMaître Formateur Haiti
Cláudia E. SilvaSecretaria da Educação SPBrazil
Danica BijeljacFrance
Daniel Naiff da Fonseca Promotor de Justiça/ Ministério Público de Goiás Brazil
Daniel Sartori BorgesProfessorBrazil
Dr Tania de St CroixAcademicUnited Kingdom
Dr. Frank AdamsonProfessorUnited States
Dr. Maria Ron Balsera United Kingdom
Dr. Min B BistaProfessor Nepal
Dr. Sara BlackLecturer in Education and Society, King’s College LondonGlobal
Dr. Tusiime RamTeacher, Education Alert InternationalUganda
Ee-Seul YoonAcademicCanada
Elaine UnterhalterAcademic/UCLUnited Kingdom
Eleanor RosenbachCommunications managerUnited Kingdom
Eliana Yong Medeiroscorretora de segurosBrazil
Ellen BeesTeacher and parentCanada
Emilie Venner Parent and worker at SOS Children VillagesFrance
Erika MartinsResearcher / ULisboaPortugal
Erika Moreira Martins Researcher, University of Lisbon Portugal
Farwa SialAcademic/ActvistUnited Kingdom
Federico FernandezJounalistPhilippines
Fernando CãssioAssistant Professor – University of São PauloBrazil
fevziye sayılanassoc.prof.dr. Turkey
FM Boaz WARUKUANCEFAKenya
Francesco DevotiStudentItaly
Francisco Fidel Rojas LujánDocentePeru
Gabriela ArrunáteguiEspecialista en género CLADEPeru
Georgia MCommunications AssistantUnited Kingdom
Gerson Masanori TanakaBrazil
Gilson dos Santos TeacherBrazil
Giovanna Modé Magalhães Researcher Brazil
Giuseppe LipariPhD Student / Scuola Normale Superiore, FlorenceItaly
Gloria Patricia Figueroa OvalleDocenteColombia
Gustavo E FischmanProfessorArgentina
Hanita SimardParent, citizenCanada
Hannah FrischEducation Advocacy OfficerUnited Kingdom
Heather GanshornParent of kids in public school, community memberCanada
Helen MurrayLecturer in Education Policy, King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom
HENRY Hélèneenseignante retraitée- engagée à la Ligue des droits de l’hommeFrance
ian wheatleyParentCanada
Igor Magalhães QueirozEducation consultantBrazil
Ildney CavalcantiProfessor / UFAL Brazil
Iliana Lo Priore Académica y sociedad civil Venezuela
Iliana Lo PrioriAcademicVenezuela
ISAAC OMONDITeacherKenya
J GetfieldParent and ProfessorCanada
Javier Alliaume MolfinoTeacher, Academic, ConsultanUruguay
Jay ProcktorTeacherCanada
Jean Fritz BEAUBRUNCommunity member Haiti
Jean Marie Ansion Mallet UniversityPeru
Jennifer Burgess ParentCanada
Jhonatan AlmadaProfessorBrazil
Jhonatan AlmadaProfessor e Diretor do CIEPPBrazil
João Carlos Bacelar BatistaCongressmanBrazil
João Carlos Bacelar BatistaAgente político Brazil
Joao Luiz Horta NetoGovermentBrazil
Joel SamoffRetired Adjunct Professor, Stanford UniversityUnited States
Josenir de Araújo Calixto Professor Brazil
Juan carlos Balderas GamarraDirector ONG de Derechos humanosBolivia
K M Enamul Hoque Development Practitioner Bangladesh
Karuna Parajuli Lawyer Nepal
Kate MalloryStudentUnited States
Khadija AbdousMorocco
Khadija Yamllahi Coalition marocaine de l’éducation pour tous Morocco
Lara PérezPhD researcherSpain
Larry KuehnRetired education researcherCanada
Laura Rosier Parent of children who benefited from public education!United Kingdom
Lauren StarkEducation ProfessorCanada
Lays Ushirobira Brazil
Linda Oduor-NoahPolicy advisorKenya
Louisa Coléus StudentHaiti
Luís António Malheiro Meneses do ValeProfessor ar the Faculty of Law of the University of CoimbraPortugal
Lynsey RobinsonHigher EducationUnited Kingdom
Madina MohamedCivil Society OrganisationKenya
Manjuma Akhtar MousumiAcademicBangladesh
Manjuma Akhtar Mousumi University Bangladesh
ManuelAsoxciado a Tarea y Foro EducativoPeru
Manuel BelloAsesor educativo, CIDE – Colegio José Antonio EncinasPeru
Marcela BrowneactivistArgentina
Margarita Martínez GarcíaDocenciaMexico
Maria BalarinResearcher / Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE)Peru
Maria Del Carmen AyesActivistHonduras
María Elena Urbano DoradoMiembro Organización de Sociedad CivilColombia
María José La Rota AguileraUniversidad de BarcelonaSpain
Mariana Martins Pesquisadora Brazil
Marie Bernadine JeudyMilitante féministe, membre de la SOFA, Pr de Sciences sociales Haiti
Marie Madeleine Pierre Education Haiti
Martin P.J. EdwardesRetiredUnited Kingdom
Mathias UrbanProfessor, Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education, Dublin City UniversityIreland {Republic}
Mathias UrbanProfessor, Desmond Chair of Early Childhood EducationIreland {Republic}
MatildestudenteItaly
Md Shariful Alam Development professional Bangladesh
Michelle MasonParent, teacher, tax payer Canada
Mikel EgibarNGO Spain
Min B BistaProfessor Nepal
MOHAMED MEDIOUNIInspecteur en orientation de l’éducationMorocco
Moira Mackenzie Retired teacher Canada
Nanre NafzigerAssistant ProfessorCanada
Nélida CéspedesCEAAL PerúPeru
NELSON XANDOCA DE MEDEIROS JÚNIOR PROFESSOR FUNDADORBrazil
Orlando Pulido ChavesAcademicColombia
Patricia PinascoRetired TeacherArgentina
Patrick Camilo LopesEstudante Brazil
Pierre BREZOTteacherFrance
Prof.ekbal elsamaloty Secretary General for Arab Network for Literacy and Adult Education Egypt
Rafael Espinal-MezaMA student, University of MarylandPeru
Rafael PabónAcademic and comunity member Inclusion educationColombia
RAKOTOARIVONY COORDONNATRICE NATIONAL COALITION Madagascar
Ricardo Rolim Xavier Auxiliar de serviços gerais no comércio Brazil
Richard Chinn Teacher Educator King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom
Rita Zozzoli TeacherBrazil
Rui da Silva Academia/parentGlobal
Rut Kuitca Jubilada Argentina
Ruth ThorntonStudentUnited Kingdom
Sahera RamzanCivil society advocacy officer – tuberculosisUnited Kingdom
Samantha HawkinsSocial Impact Leadership CoachUnited Kingdom
Sangeeta KamatProfessorUnited States
Sérgio AraújoTeacherBrazil
Shanta AmdurerTeacherUnited Kingdom
Soraya de Oliveira Pires e Silva Professora rede pública municipal Brazil
Steven KleesProfessor/University of MarylandUnited States
Sue WintonProfessorCanada
Terri BiasiniAdministrative AssistantCanada
Thais Iervolinocoordinadora de comunicación de la CLADEBrazil
Theresa AdriãoTeacher and Researcher in educational policyBrazil
Thibaut LauwerierFrance
Tomás Neira IturrietaMinistry of EducationChile
Vernor MuñozEx Relator Especial de la ONU sobre el derecho a la educaciónCosta Rica
VeronikaVice President – Curtin Student GuildAustralia
Vidya ShahAssociate ProfessorCanada
Wahid Jubran HamadEducation ConsultantPalestine
Walker Vizcarra GaiborServidor Público en Ministerio de EducaciónEcuador
Washington ViscarraDocente jubiladoEcuador
William C. SmithAcademicUnited Kingdom
William ThelusmondActivistHaiti
Zain Ul Abidin Community Outreach Coordinator / University of Glasgow United Kingdom
Zsuzsanna NyitrayHuman Rights AdvocateHungary
تهاني جميل بغدادي Lebanon
تهاني جميل بغدادي الائتلاف التربوي اللبناني Lebanon
صادق حسن عبدالله حسنTeacherYemen
emmastudent Italy
Sofía RiañoStudentUnited Kingdom
Oluwakemi OluwasegunVolunteer grassroots campaignerUnited Kingdom
Enrico ZocchiAcademicItaly
omar zaid elkilani studente Italy
Nektarios StellakisAssociate Professor Greece
IRMA GOMEZ HERNANDEZ DOCENTE Mexico
Leigh O’Brienacademic (retired)United States
ANAS ABO SAADAEDUUnited Arab Emirates
CorenaSpecial Education NeedsAntigua & Deps
PaoloStudentItaly
Yeliz InciStudentFrance
Ugo ZiccarelliStudentFrance