THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES (GATS) AND EDUCATION FOR ALL (EFA): CONFLICT OF INTERESTS?

Anita Trisnawati Abbott

Abstract


Education has been viewed as a basic human right. However, the meaning of education as a basic human right provokes one of the most fundamental debates of our time because education is still a privilege for those who can afford to pay. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and cultural Organization (UNESCO) has set the goals of Education for All (EFA) in Dakar for ensuring that education is accessible to all.
Education as a basic human right means that education is everyone’s right. Therein lays the importance of education for social change. It is education that makes people aware of the situation around them. Yet, in a different way, education is also a privilege. Through the provisions of the GATS, trade barriers in education are eliminated. Thus, education is commodified. The commodification of education means that education serves those who can afford to pay.
Will the goals of EFA be achieved especially if education is a competitive commodity? The GATS focuses on higher education whereas EFA focuses on basic education. Then, does the GATS promote or hinder the goals of EFA? In what ways will the GATS hinder and/or promote the goals of EFA? This paper explores seeks to address these questions. Thus, this paper addresses the question of whether there is conflict of interests between the GATS and EFA.

Keywords


pedagogy and policy

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