Education as a Service or as a Right

Interesting thought from a paper mentioned in the UNESCO IIEP forum on open educational resources:

An important debate is currently taking place within universities but also among researchers, diplomats and governmental sectors all over the world. Can education be considered as a commercial service and, as a result, regulated by the World Trade Organization (WTO)? If the reply is positive, does this mean that the rules and principles of GATS (the General Agreement on Trade in Services) apply to education or should it be considered as a public service? What are the implications of the answer to this question? And if the idea of public service is retained, what are the principles that must guide the organization, content and policies for higher education in developing countries in general?

The Objectives and Institutionalism of the Global University System was written by the former Director of the Division of Higher Ed of UNESCO.

1 thought on “Education as a Service or as a Right”

  1. Isn’t this a matter of how we interpret the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and its article 26’s sections 1 and 2:

    “Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”

    I wonder how many governments in the world can say: “yeah, we do this!” 🙂 We may also ask how well the article 26 will be full-filled if we agree, under WTO, to considered education as a commercial service.

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