Economization, Commodification, Digitalization:

The Emergence of a Global Education Industry

Symposium at Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, February 16-17, 2017

The Symposium examined the rationales, processes, and impacts of Economization, Commodification and Digitalization; arguable, all products as well as producers of the emerging Global Education Industry. The presentations presented debates from research and practice dealing with the Global Education Industry (GEI).


The Topic and Context
The theme of economization of education concerns not only its provision – privatization, commodification – and implementation/management – standards, accountability and quality systems. Education increasingly becomes an object of investment and profit making by the interests of (for example) philanthropic organizations, education businesses and technology companies on a global scale. But what are the consequences for education and research? How do education systems and institutions change in response to these new developments? And how does it affect studies in education along with studies in other social sciences and in the humanities? This Symposium was a unique occasion to explore these questions in depth with internationally renowned scholars.

The Emergence of a Global Education Industry
It has been pointed out recently that in an era characterized by globalization across myriad sectors, industries, technologies and social movements, it may come as no surprise that we are also seeing the rise of an education industry on a global scale. What is new is the conception of education as a sector that is increasingly globalized and managed by private corporations. Therefore, the presenters at the Symposium examined why the Global Education Industry (GEI) was able to expand so dramatically, how it operates, and what impact it has on public education.

Organizing Team

The Symposium was organized by:

  • Gita Steiner-Khamsi (Teachers-College, Columbia University New York, US and NORRAG, Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Isabell Diehm (Goethe-University Frankfurt/M, Germany)
  • Christiane Thompson (Goethe-University Frankfurt/M, Germany)
  • Frank-Olaf Radtke (Goethe-University Frankfurt/M, Germany)
  • Marcelo Parreira do Amaral (University of Münster, Germany)
  • Johannes Bellmann (University of Münster, Germany)