Many teachers in Pakistan wore black armbands on World Teachers' Day this week, to demonstrate their anger at both the way they are treated as professionals and the wholesale privatisation of education in the Punjab region.
Teachers in Pakistan are not only underpaid and frequently on temporary contracts. In addition to their vital job of teaching children, they are expected to do jobs which have nothing to do with their work, most recently vaccination campaigns. No cover is provided for teachers when they do these duties and if they refuse they are disciplined. As if this were not enough, teachers are then attacked for being absent from school.
In the Punjab area of Pakistan, in large part thanks to the efforts of top Pearson man Michael Barber, 3000 schools have been handed over to the privatised Pakistan Education Foundation. Millions of dollars are being poured into this scheme while 30,000 state primary schools are functioning with only one teacher. The moves come along with all the baggage of corporate education 'reform': standardised curricula, performance related pay, high stakes testing and temporary contracts.
The teachers of Pakistan have been fighting these corporate attacks on public education for many years, yet their efforts go largely unreported. They deserve all our support and solidarity.
To read more background about the fight in Pakistan go here and follow the links.