As with the business support for standardised testing, there are those who view privatisation as a business opportunity. Venture capitalists and investors believe that education will offer the same opportunities that privatisation in the health industry provided and financial experts have labelled education as “the next growth industry”.
The total for-profit education sector in the US is estimated to be worth some $105 billion. “The privateers see almost endless possibilities in the education market… They are dizzy with excitement, and never cease to remind us that education is a multi-million dollar enterprise.”
The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) recognised in 1998: “The provision of education is a market opportunity and should be treated as such”.
In the UK the “outsourced education market” was worth £2.5 billion by 2003. For example Group 4 Falck runs a range of privatised public services and is involved in “SfE, an online education provider that covers around 70% for secondary schools and provides online training to around 20,000 teachers.” Henry Pitman from Falck’s partner in SfE, Tribal Group, claimed that Falck’s experience with young offenders gave it “experience in dealing with difficult pupils”.
Internationally, the education market is massive. “According to UNESCO (2000), public expenditure on education worldwide is about US$1386.6 billion… education and training stocks have seen a rise in North America of 134% since 1994…”
Moreover private education consultants have been promoting their services around the world. For example the British-based transnational SERCO Group proposed to the South Australian government during the 1990s that it outsource school administrative services. In that case the proposal was defeated by teacher unions and community opposition.
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