Ballyclare teacher condemns education system privatisation

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A Newtownabbey teacher has condemned privatisation in education, saying that “schools are not shops where the only bottom line is profit.”

Ballyclare man Stephen McCord, who is a Past President the Ulster Teachers’ Union, said local students’ best interests would not be at the heart of decisions if TTIP, an international business partnership, made more inroads into Northern Ireland’s education system.

“Privatisation is enshrined in TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, but education must remain in the public sector so all decisions made were based purely on educational merit,” said Mr McCord, head of science at Glastry College.

“TTIP is a huge entity which is very slowly encroaching on our way of life. It is a trade agreement being negotiated between America and the EU to encompass services as well as goods.

“In most of what we call the developed world there are at least two main services that have been instituted and managed by the public purse, for the public good – health and education. TTIP aims to overthrow this.

“American corporations are increasingly seeing the potential profits ripe for the picking in our education system and if TTIP is adopted then this would enable them to move in with their investment but also calling the shots. No longer would decisions for local students be made on what is best for them but rather what is best for profits.

“In NI we’re seeing it in our university and pre-school sectors. Quality education is best achieved when viewed as a public good with equal access and publicly funded.”