The report examines the rationale and modus operandi of philanthropic edu-business. The second part of the report focuses on the global activities of UK registered Absolute Return for Kids (Ark), an academy sponsor which runs 38 schools in Birmingham, Hastings, London and Portsmouth. It analyses Ark’s roles and activities in education systems globally including through the direct provision of education, curriculum development, teacher training, enabling the development of education markets, network building and advocacy, school accountability and more.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This important report makes clear that the commercialisation, marketisation and privatisation of education is a global ambition. Ark has been a leading proponent of privatisation in and of education in England through its academy programme, maths mastery curriculum and teacher training initiatives. This report sheds important light on Ark’s involvement in edu-business on a global scale.

“Education is a multi-billion-pound business opportunity for those who seek to turn a profit.  Privateers, hiding beneath the cloak of philanthropy, are a serious threat to the EI’s goal of achieving free quality public education for all across the world.

“The NEU and its sister unions in EI understand the importance of education for the public good and we will continue to work together to defend the rights of all children to a high-quality education, free at the point of use, and untarnished by corporate greed.”

Editor’s Notes

  1. The launch of Education International’s report Under the sheep skin: philanthropy and the privatisation of the so-called ‘democratic state’ will take place on Wednesday 20 March, 2.30pm, UCL Institute of Education, Room W2.05, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL.
  2. A summary of the report is available here:
  3. EI’s own press release is here:
  4. Present at the launch of the research will be Mr Christian Addai-Poku, President of Education International’s Africa Regional Committee; Mr David Ofori Acheampong, General Secretary, Ghana National Association of Teachers; and Mr Eric Kofi Agbe Carbonu, President, National Association of Graduate Teachers, who will speak of the role of Ark’s promotion of public private partnerships in Ghana and across Africa.