Student Teachers protesting last Year Student teachers are continuing their protests against education 'reforms' being brought in by the Guatemalan government this month The changes will mean that teachers will have to study for five years instead of three - which will mean that many students will not be able to afford to complete their teacher training. Yesterday students from the University of San Carlos set a bus on fire as part of their protest campaign. They have vowed to continue their protests until the reforms are withdrawn. As we reported last year: The student teachers – who are in the so-called Escuelas Normales – are fighting for the continuation of a system which gives the opportunity for low-income and indigenous young people to become teachers. At present only 2% of the population goes on to higher education.  The schools have been at the centre of the struggle for indigenous and free education – now the governrment wants to extend the training time for the Magisterio (or teachers’ degree) for students without negotiation, which would mean thousands of them would no longer be able to afford to train. Their spokesperson said they are not against the extension of training if it were free. The students say that the new laws being brought in are part of a drive to further privatise schools in Guatemala – already 80% of high school education is private. One of the student teachers told the website wagingnonviolence: There is evidence that the government has been turning over education to the private sector, private companies. We see more companies in different departments that now say they provide education. So now we’re conditioning our parents to work for those large companies so that they can have the right to education. That’s part of privatization. For example, there are over half a million kids in Guatemala who don’t go to school and that’s because there are more private schools than national schools… If students stop being able to complete the magisterio degree then it will be done away with all together. The private schools will be the ones left and it’s clear that those who can study there are middle and upper class people, who have power.