Thousands of Italian teachers took to the streets at the end of last week to protest the 'good school' reform bill of the government of Matteo Renzi. Amongst other things the reforms will introduce private sector funding into the school system, with individual schools competing against each other for private resources; increase school opening hours;  introduce performance related pay; and make students of technical subjects do unpaid apprenticeships. Thousands of teachers in Italy are on temporary contracts and the reforms will also exacerbate that situation.

In 100 cities, teachers took part in flash mobs, dressed in black, holding candles and keeping silent, as though for a funeral - in this case of public education if the reforms are allowed to go ahead.  One teachers from the southern city of Naples said, '1,500 of us took to the streets (here) to say that the public school system is dying and now we want to be heard.' Teachers say they will continue to fight until the measures are withdrawn and that public education is not for sale.

On Friday thousands of teachers belonging to the USB, UNICOBAS and ANIEF unions marched in the capital, Rome, shouting slogans against the government and against the three main trade union federations, which they say have sold out to the government. A further day of strike and protest is planned for May 5th.