Thousands of teachers are on strike in the Bihar state of India. Over a quarter of a million contract teachers are taking action, demanding to be made permanent and to be paid properly. At present, contract teachers earn as little as $130 a month.

Bihar state has not employed any teachers on permanent contracts since 2006 in school-based (K12) education. One contract teacher told reporters he was earning less than half of what permanent colleagues, with similar experience, were earning. Another , 'Now, it has become a matter of 'do or die' for us. We will not teach in the schools.' Not only is the pay low, but of course contract teachers have no security of tenure, nor pension and sickness rights. And the average pupil teacher rate is 63 to one, as against the constitutional number 40 to one.

The teachers are on strike all over the state, some 72,000 schools are shut and where they aren't contract teachers are refusing to teach.

The policy of hiring teachers on temporary contracts is rampant all over the global South, particularly in South Asia. it is one which is enthusiastically promoted by the World Bank, in document after document. Such a policy ties in with their mantra of 'getting more for less', as well as in their view disciplining teachers. As they say in their infamous document, 'the use of contract teachers can strengthen the scope for local monitoring of teacher performance by parents and school councils, which results in higher teacher effort, which results in better student learning outcomes.'

In fact the failure to treat teachers in a respectful way has dire consequences, both for students and  for the teachers themselves. There are many cases both in India elsewhere of teacher suicide as a result of the uncertainty and poverty caused by this practice. Teachers in India are fighting back however, the India on this website has multiple reports of strikes by contract teachers, however this strike in Bihar is the biggest we have come acriss for a long time.