School students in Paraguay, supported by many parents, have been occupying schools in the fight for proper education funding. They have now won one of their key objectives - the resignation of the education minister. The students occupied over 100 high schools, and last Thursday after two days, the minister Marta Lafuente resigned. She had presided over schools in such poor condition that an entire wall collapsed in one last week.
Lafuente had also been involved in various corruption scandals. Bizarrely her justification for one instance - the buying of overpriced water for school canteens - was that the PISA researchers were visiting schools.
At the end of April, Paraguay's teachers had also been on strike with similar demands - including proper spending on education and an end to the oppression of teachers involved in union activities.
Paraguay's President is the millionaire Horacio Cartes who has been imprisoned for fraud in the past. He is pursuing policies of privatisation of public services including education. As is usually the case such policies go hand in hand with the underfunding of public schools.
School occupations have become an important means of struggle in South America with others taking place in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.