Teachers, school students and campaigners are fighting for public education across India. In Jaipur in Rajasthan, 500 teachers protested outside the education offices and burned effigies of the education minister, in protest against the decision to hand over the entire public schools stock to the private sector on a 'first come, first served' basis.

The 'justification' for this policy is a lack of funds for public schools and a suggestion that the private sector can provide better education for less money. In fact there is plenty of evidence that the contrary is true. Low fee private schools tend to use unqualified staff on temporary contracts and are often housed in inadequate buildings. Moreover, according to one campaigner:  'Private entities will choose only those schools which have better real estate value.' The Rajasthan state has already closed down some 17,000 public schools in rural areas, causing a slump in enrollment as students find themselves unable to travel to the nearest school. This replicates a global strategy for corporate 'reformers': run down public education, to create an opportunity for private individuals and companies to make money from schooling the poor.

School students in the same state have also been taking action. Secondary school girl students have staged a series of hunger strikes and lock outs at different schools, demanding that the state employ more teachers and improve the infrastructure at their schools. They say that owing to gender bias, their schools are even worse equipped and staffed than the boys' schools.

Meanwhile on a national level, the government has opened a consultation process, which campaigners say is opening the door to the further commercialisation of schooling in India and the introduction of more corporate 'reform' measures. The questions in the consultation document are skewed in such away as to elicit responses which favour both privatisation and corporate reform, for example, analysts say: 'the document repeatedly asks about the performance assessment of teachers and pushes the agenda of the World Bank and the corporate sector to introduce "perform or perish: theory to bring in para-teachers and contract teachers'.

Instead , campaigners say the consultation should be asking questions like:  'How do we address the ongoing privatisation, commercialisation and commodification as against recognising education as a social good?' and, 'How can the system of education help build a more humanitarian and egalitarian society based on the core values of constitution ensuring social justice to all its citizens?.' To read a more detailed analysis of the Indian government's consultation go here