trinidad.jpg Nursery Teachers Protesting in Port of Spain  In many countries of the world so called contract teachers are being used to plug gaps in education services with a damaging effect both on teachers themselves and on education. Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago are fighting to ensure that nursery teachers are employed on the same conditions as teachers in the rest of the school service. The ministry is attempting to impose three year contracts on the teachers at the Early Childhood Care and Education Centres (ECCE's). Teachers arrived from around the country to protest outside the ministry in the Port of Spain. Joining them were other members of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) “We will keep on struggling until we get a better deal. Our union makes us strong, we will stand in the rain until we get a better deal,” said one of the protestors. According to the union the ministry has been putting pressure on nursery teachers to sign the new contracts. The use of so-called contract teachers is becoming more and more common as governments try to cut costs. In some cases these can be people with very few qualifications in others they can be fully qualified teachers working for a fraction of the salary on offer to teachers. In Indonesia for example ther are some 590,000 contract teachers some of whom are paid as little as $21 a month or even less for working a 6 day week. Unions there are presently negotiating improvements in contract teachers' pay and conditions of service. Meanwhile in Cambodia the number of temporary teachers is being cut by 50%. However they are not being replaced by permanent staff - on the contrary those in post will now have to teach bigger classes. The President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association said: "Teacher shortages will undermine the government’s goal of raising the Cambodian education standard, and that’s why I want the minister to reconsider this reduction."  There is an increasing trend in the OECD countries to replace fully qualified permanent teachers with temporary and often unqualified staff who often work for exploitative pay and conditions. Meanwhile in the Global South the policy is widespread. This fact is noted with approval by the World Bank in its report on education in Sub Saharan Africa: “In particular, recent progress in primary education in Francophone countries resulted from reduced teacher costs, especially through the recruitment of contractual teachers, generally at about 50% the salary of civil service teachers.”