Teachers in Honduras held a sit-in last week outside the department of education. The protest was organised by the federation of teachers organisations FOMH. They are demanding improved infrastructure in schools and an end to oppressive and discriminatory assessment processes which have seen many teachers losing their jobs. They are also demanding the appointment of more teachers in public schools as well as an increase in pay - Honduran teachers have not received a pay rise for six years. 

The actions of the Honduran teachers are particularly brave and important, given the persecution to which they have been subjected ever since the illegal coup in 2009, when many teachers were killed and injured fighting for democracy. Since then the oppression has been stepped up, including an armed attack on union headquarters, more teachers injured and killed and an attack on the university. Many teachers' leaders have been arrested and teachers arbitrarily sacked.

Students have also been at the centre of the struggle for public education and they too have been criminalised and attacked by armed police. Earlier this year we reported  the assassination of four high school students including one of 13, as they were in the middle of mass protests demanding proper resources for public education.

The Honduran government is pursuing the usual raft of education 'reform' measures including a policy of privatisation of education by stealth as it starves public schools and their teachers of funds and encourages initiatives to create non-state-run schools, with the help of USAID, the International Monetary  Fund and the World Bank according to reports. Meanwhile hundreds and thousands took to the streets last month protesting endemic government corruption.

This week's world congress of teaching unions, Education International (EI), will debate a resolution which calls for the denouncing of the Honduran government's violations of human and trade union rights and calls on EI to develop a strategy to defend such rights, 'including global solidarity actions between countries, such as organising campaigns and protests to express this solidarity at the global and regional level.'