School students in India and South Africa are fighting for public education. Hundreds of school students picketed the Ministry of Education in Puducherry, a territory in Southern India this week. They are demanding proper funding for government schools, including in particular the filling of vacant teachers posts and proper school buildings and equipment. As we have at length on this site, public schools in India are being starved of funds and run down to make way for privatisation, with poor families becoming even more impoverished in order to pay for private schooling, hoping that it will be better than the run down government system. 

The Indian students, who are members of the, say that conditions in rural schools are particularly bad, describing them as 'pathetic'. They are also demanding free uniforms and books as well as proper school meals and a reinstatement of free school milk and bread.

Meanwhile in South Africa, school students are attending the congress of , a social movement of community members, parents, students and teachers, committed to public education and to overthrowing the legacy of apartheid, which still sees huge segregation between the education of low income children and that of the predominately white moneyed classes. 

Equal Education campaigns against the proliferation of chains of low fee private schools in South Africa, but demands instead that public education be properly funded.

In both South Africa and India, educorporations like Pearson are scenting the opportunity to make money out of the poor, not only through their vast data collection, testing and other products but also through private schooling. The SFI in India emphasises its oppposition to parents using their minimal means to pay school fees. 

In both cases it is young people who are in the forefront of the movement, and their struggle, like those of so many of their contemporaries around the world, is an inspiration to the millions of teachers, who are fighting the same battle.