is education defined in the GATS?
trade in education?
countries are opening their education sectors for trade?
When are the next phases
of the GATS negotiations?
What is the role of the UNESCO Conventions?
is education defined in the GATS?
Trade in educational services is based on 5 sub-sectors of
education as categorized by the United Nations Provisional
Central Product Classification (CPC). These sub-sectors are:
primary education , secondary education, higher education,
adult education and other.
3 categories most relevant to tertiary education are: higher
education; post secondary technical and vocational education
services; and other education services.
education covers post secondary technical and vocational education
services as well as other higher education programmes leading
to a university degree or equivalent.
Adult education covers education for adults outside the regular
Other education covers all education services not classified
elsewhere and excludes education services related to recreation
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Why trade in education?
Trade in higher education is a million dollar business.
The demand for higher education, on the one side, is growing,
while on the other side, trans-border education (e.g. private
or for-profit higher foreign university campuses, IT Academies,
twinning arrangements with other universities, corporate universities,
virtual universities, open universities, e-universities etc.)
is increasing. The capacity of the public sector has not kept
up with this demand. This coupled with the recent developments
of ICTs and the ensuing growth in online learning has resulted
in the creation of this very lucrative market.
Which countries are opening their education
sectors for trade?
Education, overall, is one of the least committed sectors.
Only 44 of the 144 WTO Members have made commitments in education,
and only 21 of these have included commitments to higher education:
Australia, Czech Republic, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Norway,
Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Congo RP, European Community, Japan,
Mexico, Panama, Slovak Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa
Rica, Hungary, Lesotho, New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, Turkey.
4 countries have to date submitted a negotiating proposal
outlining their interest and issues in the education sector.
These countries, in order of presentation of negotiating proposals
are: United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.
proposals outline the role of government, rationale/purpose
of trade liberalization; benefits of trade liberalizaton;
public private mix.
information on the specific
national GATS commitments in education.
More information on negotiating
proposals to date.
are the next phases of the GATS negotiations?
Key dates for the next phases of GATS negotiations are:
June 2002 - Countries will file initial requests asking trading
partners to open their markets in services areas.
March 2003 - Countries that were the subjects of requests
will present offers to open their markets in service areas.
Trading partners will hold meetings and discussions. Overall,
if insufficient agreement is reached regarding higher education,
the sector could be part of a new round of global negotiations
after the conclusion of talks in January 2005.
2005 - GATS negotiations conclude.
is the role of the UNESCO Conventions?
Conventions on the recognition of qualifications represent
the only existing regulatory frameworks fro transborder mutual
recognition of qualifications. These Conventions have been
ratified by over 100 Member States in Africa, Asia and the
Pacific, the Arab States, Europe and Latin America.
to the GATS, the UNESCO Conventions aim to promote international
cooperation in higher education and to reduce obstacles to
the mobility of teachers and students by a mutual recognition
of degrees and qualifications between the countries that have
the Conventions and the GATS are administered by the Intergovernmental
organizations of world-wide coverage. UNESCO is the specialized
agency of the United Nations system for education, science,
culture and communication with 188 Member States. The WTO
is the more recently established world trade organization
with 144 Member States.
basic difference, however lies in the purpose of concluding
these international agreements. While the UNESCO Conventions
are concluded for the purpose of advancing what Jane Knight
(2002) calls 'non-profit internationalization', the GATS promotes
trade in higher education services for the purposes of market
Commission's Info-Point on World Trade in Services GATS
Commitments by Sector. Prepared by the European Commission,
Directorate General for Trade in Education. Available from
Texts and Commitments 'GATS Commitments by Sector'.
Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (2002) Trade
in Higher Education Services: The Implications of GATS,
prepared by Jane Knight. This report is provided here,
courtesy of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.
Further resources and information relating to developments
in borderless higher education are available on the Observatory's
Conventions on the Recognition of Studies. Available
from the UNESCO Studying
Abroad 'Conventions on the Recognition of Studies'.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS): Objectives,
coverage and disciplines. Prepared by the WTO Secretariat.
Available from the World
Trade Organization 'Services:GATS'.
General Agreement on Trade in Services. Prepared from
the WTO Secretariat. Available from the World
Trade Organization 'Services: Agreement'.
Services: rules for growth and investment. Prepared
by the WTO Secretariat. Available from the World
Trade Organization 'Trading into the future: The introduction
to the WTO.
section is prepared in the framework of the Global
Forum on the International Dimensions of Quality Assurance,
Accreditation and the Recognition of Diplomas. It will be
regularly updated. Please send
us your suggestions.
What is GATS?|
GATS and HE|