Early years teachers in the Karnataka state of India are protesting the part privatisation of anganwadis or early years schools. Incredibly the running of anganwadis in parts of the state is being handed over to Vendanta, a UK mining corporation named by the British Independent newspaper as 'the most hated company in the world.' Vendanta has been responsible for environmental and human rights violations in the global South not least in India itself.

Its most notorious plan there is the mining of the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa, which are sacred to the Dongria Kondh people, and which they say will destroy their forests, their rivers and their whole way of life. The anganwadis will become part of its 'sustainability' portfolio, which boasts on its website of its 'environmental stewardhip' and 'respect for nature', not to mention its 'enhancing the quality of life of communities near to our operations.' 

However the Karnataka State Angawadi Workers Association (KSAWA) is not taking the situation lying down.Hundreds of members thronged the streets last week to protest against the moves - as well as plans to run down the school meals service by handing it over to self-help groups and put anganwadi workers onto temporary contracts.

KSAWA are opposing any intervention by private companies in early years education and they say that if their demands are not met by December there will be state-wide protests. In fighting these plans the teachers and other workers from the anganwadis are not only defending education and their own profession but also fighting against the cynical attempts by corporations to turn education to their advantage as part of so-called social responsibility - what you might call black(board) washing of their profile.