Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, February 9th, 2016 - 178 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, class war, education, Globalisation, trade - Tags: education, paul goulter, sandra grey, selling out NZ, soverignty, teu, tpp, TPPA, trojan horse
The TPPA can get its long fingers into just about anything. Even a public service such as education. This piece by New Zealand Educational Institute national secretary Paul Goulter should be compulsory reading:
TPP puts profit ahead of quality education
Imagine an education system where multi-national corporations could set up a school alongside your local public school, and then demand equal access to the taxpayer purse to fund that school.
Charter schools on steroids.
It’s a likely scenario because global businesses are on the hunt for new ways of getting their fingers into nations’ multi-billion dollar public education purses. And here in New Zealand, the TPPA could provide that opportunity.
Even Singapore, which our education minister has hailed as one of the high performing education systems that we should look towards, has taken the precaution of carving education out of the TPPA deal.
Our negotiators either didn’t manage, or more likely didn’t even try, to get a similar “out” clause for education in New Zealand. As a consequence, they have put at risk the rights of future governments to protect our public education system against any “level-playing field” changes that would disadvantage global edu-businesses.
This is because the TPPA aims to further liberalise trade and investment in ways that have very little to do with trade in its original sense of reducing tariffs and limiting the use of import quotas. In reality, the agreement encourages government to adopt education policies that pursue trade and investment “opportunities”.
Back in the US where the private sector has been allowed to effectively “compete” with the public sector, public schools have been undermined to the point of collapse.
This is the future under a system that supports big global companies gaining a slice of public education funding. Our government needs to be reminded that quality public education is the right of every child and must never become a taxpayer-funded opportunity for global corporate profit.
Much more in the full article, a compelling read. The Tertiary Education Union has also spoken up:
TPPA threatens free education
TEU’s national president Sandra Grey says the secret agreement will undermine public education. … Grey says the agreement will allow corporations to sue New Zealand when the government acts in its people’s interest but interferes with corporations’ property rights and profitability.
“The TPPA will limit current and future governments’ abilities to make decisions that are the best for our kids’ education,” says Grey.
“The TPPA should explicitly exclude crucial public services like education but it does not”, says Grey. “This means it threatens things like the Labour Party’s promise to introduce free public tertiary education.”
“Future governments should have the right to give our kids a free education without fearing they will need to compensate a private foreign university that has lost an opportunity to make a profit off our kids.”
(For a longer analysis from Grey see here.)
The TPPA is a way of locking in a permanent, international right-wing governance which can limit and constrain the kind of social policies that any future NZ left-wing government might want to enact. Clever, isn’t it.