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LIBERALIZATION: A Fatal Blow to Public Education By: Ruth R. Morris National Council on Education

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LIBERALIZATION: A Fatal Blow to Public Education By: Ruth R. Morris National Council on Education. WHAT IS THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES (GATS)?. First trade agreement which focuses exclusively on Trade in Services as opposed to Trade in Products Multilateral,

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LIBERALIZATION: A Fatal Blow to Public Education
  • By: Ruth R. Morris
  • National Council on Education
what is the general agreement on trade in services gats
  • First trade agreement which focuses exclusively on Trade in Services as opposed to Trade in Products
  • Multilateral,
  • Legally enforceable agreement
  • Administered by World Trade Organization comprising 144 Member countries.
  • First negotiation under GATS is the Uruguay Round of Negotiations dated April 15, 1994.
what is defined as a service under gats
  • A service
  • is any service in any sector except services in the
  • exercise of Governmental Authority.
  • A service supplied in the exercise of governmental
  • authority
  • is any service that is supplied neither on a
  • commercial basis nor in competition with one or
  • more service suppliers.
On a commercial basis
  • is any service traded for a profit
  • In competition
  • is a service provided:
  • with multiple service suppliers; or
  • where there are public and private service providers in the same sector
  • The WTO has identified the following four modes of trade which
  • constitute the definition of trade in services:
  • Cross-Border Supply – Services are provided which cross the national
  • boundaries of the supplier or the consumer through the use of
  • communications technology, for example education services provided
  • through distance learning or correspondence courses;
  • Consumption Abroad - the consumer crosses the border to consume
  • services outside of his/her home territory, for example a Jamaican
  • travels to another country to study.
Commercial Presence: –the supplier of the service
  • establishes a local branch or subsidiary to provide services
  • in another country for example the establishment in
  • Jamaica of a campus of a foreign university.
  • Presence of Natural Persons: - the supplier of the service
  • travels from his own country to supply a service in another
  • country, i.e. the presence of a service provider who travels
  • to Jamaica in an individual capacity to provide a service on
  • a temporary basis. A teacher who comes from overseas to
  • tutor students on his/her own.
legislated articles
  • The Agreement is legislated under 26 articles.
  • The following three (3) will be examined:
  • The Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Rule
  • National Treatment
  • Market Access
Most Favoured Nation (MFN)
  • This requires equal and consistent treatment of
  • all foreign trading partners. It means:
  • Providing equal opportunities in that sector for all foreign service providers.
  • mutual exclusive treatment for all service providers
National Treatment
  • This is not the same as MFN. National
  • Treatment requires equal treatment for foreign
  • providers and domestic providers.
  • Once a foreign supplier has been allowed to
  • supply a service in one’s country there should
  • be no discrimination in treatment between the
  • foreign and domestic providers.
Market Access
  • A member shall not establish:
  • Limitations on the number of service providers, including numerical quotas.
  • Limitations on the total value of service transactions or assets
  • Limitations on the total number of service
  • operations.
Limitations on the total number of natural persons
  • that may be employed in a particular service sector.
  • Measures which restrict or require specific types of legal entity or joint venture through which a service supplier may supply a service.
  • Limitations on the participation of foreign capital in terms of maximum percentage limit on foreign
  • shareholding.



Modes of Supply: 1) Cross-border Supply 2) Consumption Abroad 3) Commercial Presence 4) Presence of Natural Persons

what is higher education
  • GATS defines higher education as any
  • education offered after secondary. It incorporates
  • two distinct groups:
  • the teaching of practical skills in post-secondary, sub-degree technical and vocational education institutions and;
  • theoretical educational services provided by universities, colleges and specialized professional schools.
public education
  • Partially or wholly funded by Government
  • Regulated by Government
  • Provided in the interest of the “common good”
  • - Socialization
  • - Cultural transmission
  • - Personal, Cognitive and Social Development
  • - Preparation for participation in national development
  • Public benefit is necessary for the fulfillment of individual
  • aspirations and public education is the site where these
  • aspirations are formed as well as realized.
will gats apply to all public education systems
Will GATS apply to all Public Education Systems?
  • Is government the sole provider of higher education in your country?
  • If yes, the education sector is exempt from GATS
  • If no, all the general principles of GATS apply and all sections indicated in the schedule of specific commitments.
Will GATS apply to all Public Education Systems? Cont’d
  • Is government the sole provider of
  • education but charge fees in an effort to raise revenue for other sectors?
  • If yes, GATS apply
  • If no, the education sector is exempt from GATS
challenges for higher education
Challenges for Higher Education
  • Most countries have a mixed public/private higher education system.
  • Most have a significant amount of funding coming from the private sector e.g. private source of funding account for less than 3% in Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, 18% in Germany and Australia and 45% in Chile.
  • Public institutions offer private programmes at full economic cost.
  • Students share in the economic cost of their education. In Jamaica students pay 20%.
  • The prevailing context indicate that globalization is
  • as inevitable as it is immediate.
  • GATS will drastically limit government regulation in
  • the education sector, preventing the implementation
  • of education policies designed in the public’s
  • interest.
As a consequence:
  • Education will become less available: Under public control, governments can distribute educational resources to communities and jurisdictions that would otherwise not warrant investment by private providers. In private systems, programs would not be available in sufficient quantity to all citizens.
Education will become less accessible: universal, non-discriminatory and affordable education is antithetical to private providers who must profit from the services they deliver. The most vulnerable groups and poorest members will be less able or unable to afford private education or education of equal quality.
Education will become less acceptable: Private providers working throughout the hemisphere operating on large economies of scale will not be able to provide students with culturally appropriate curricula and teaching methods in the many varied jurisdictions and communities that they service.
Education will become less adaptable to social needs: The profit motive will lead private education providers to cater to areas with quick return to financial investment, making education less adaptable for the long-term public interest, and “the full development of the human personality.”