The teachers union of Liberia is planning a national strike over the government's intention to hand the entire primary school system over to a private provider.

As we reported last week, the government has made a deal with Bridge International Academies, an outfit invested in by among others Facebook millionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Pearson, to take over its public schools. The chain of low fee private schools uses untrained teachers on poverty pay to 'deliver' education to low income children. The methods they use are showcased in a Pearson clip (below) - teachers follow a detailed script on a tablet - with every move they make monitored.

Samuel Johnson, leader of the National Teachers Association of Liberia said it was 'not feasible to have this Bridge International Academies come teach children using digital tablets.  Less than three percent of our population in Liberia has access to electricity. Also, we don’t have Internet facilities in most of our schools.'

Ironically, considering Bridge's staffing policy, the government cited a lack of sufficient trained and qualified teachers as a justification for the plan.

As Johnson said: “Right now there are no textbooks in most of the schools. The very University of Liberia that is supposed to be training teachers to go and teach at the high school level, the labs are not equipped; the majority of our high schools do not have access to laboratory for students to be able to do research; biology, chemistry, and physics teachers find it very difficult. This is why most of the students are failing. But they are trying to deviate and find scapegoats, us,”

Absolutely right! Once again a government is blaming teachers for its failure to fund education properly and education corporations have identified a massive business opportunity. And once again teachers in the global South are leading the fight to defend public education.