The marketisation, privatisation, digitalisation and datafication of education

Education is not arranged only in a traditional classroom setting, but also through various digital platforms.  This, consequently, brings various new actors to the discussions about the contents, methods, and ideologies behind education. In the FuturEd-project we link this development to the growing privatisation, marketisation and digitalisation of education, which further asks towards exploring what kind of changes these phenomena bring to our understanding of what education, knowledge, and teaching are.

The calls for more precise and personalised education with the promise of new technology can be traced to the organisations such as the OECD and the EU. The claim is, that by making education more personal, measurable and individualised, education can be delivered in a fair, equal and most importantly, rational way. According to our research in the FuturEd, this development inherently changes the way in which education is understood: from understanding to knowledge acquisition, from contextual and contingent to universal and contextualised, from knowledge to skills, and from teaching to training and coaching. The ideologies, historical and cultural contexts and communities in which education takes place seem to play no role in the “new”, precise and personalised education.

The digitalisation of education also opens up new prolific markets within education systems, even though the education itself is often arranged by the public sector. In this way, the private sector (especially EduBusiness and EdTech companies) is brought in to define what does education look like in the future.

In the FuturEd-project, we ask:

  • What are the core changes in the understanding of education due to the digitalisation of education?
  • How does the privatisation and marketisation of education affect the arrangement and practises of education both on the global and local level?
  • How marketisation and datafication of education are linked to the education export and growing education markets?
  • What is the role of the private sector in education in local policy-making and practices?

Selected publications:

Schaffar, Birgit (2021). “Competent uses of competence: on the difference between a value-judgment and empirical assessability”, Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy.

Mertanen, K., Vainio, S. E., & Brunila, K. (2021). Educating for the future? Mapping the Emerging Lines of Precision Education Governance. Policy Futures in Education. E-pub ahead of publication.

Valkonen, S., Pesonen, J. & Brunila, K., 16 Sep 2021. Varhaiskasvatuksen markkinat – Näkökulmana yksityistyvät palvelut. In: Kasvatus. 52, 2, p. 223-234 12 p.

Brunila, K., Mertanen, K. & Mononen-Batista Costa, S. (2020). Economic Worries  -Therapeutic Solutions? Entrepreneurial and therapeutic governing of transitions of young people. Brunila, K. & Lundahl, L. (eds.). Youth on the Move: Tendencies and Tensions in Youth Policies and Practices. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press.

Hinke Dobrochinski Candido, H. (2020). Datafication in schools: Enactments of quality assurance and evaluation policies in Brazil. International Studies in Sociology of Education 29(1), 126-157.

Ideland, M. (2020). Google and the end of the teacher? How a figuration of the teacher is produced through an ed-tech discourse. Learning, Media and Technology. Online 18th Aug 2020.