Teachers in the opposition caucus of the Mexican teachers union, CNTE, are engaged in vigorous protests this week against the so-called reform measures being brought in by the right wing government of Pena Nieto. Thousands of teachers have marched through the centre of the capital, Mexico City, and in the South of the country, teachers have entered the offices of local administrations and burned electoral materials in their fight to get the reforms overturned. Their strategy is to disrupt mid term federal elections.

Particularly militant have been the teachers in Guerrero, where 8 months ago, 43 student teachers were abducted from Ayotzinapa training college and never seen again - a case which has caused outrage throughout the country as well as global protests and campaigns for their safe return. Moreover the case has particularly galvanised the youth of Mexico who are demanding democracy and an end to discrimination and police repression. The Ayotzinapa case is at the heart of the present protests.

The government is attempting to bring in corporate reforms which amongst other things would see more privatisation, more standardised testing and teacher pay and tenure resting on flawed evaluations. One example of the injustice of the reforms is that the curriculum would be taught in Spanish or English, whereas there are 68 official indigenous languages in the country and many more in existence. Moreover the infrastructure and conditions in rural schools are particularly bad, with teachers often having to travel miles across dirt roads to reach schools.

Needless to say, the narrative coming from the government and repeated by the global media, is that teachers are opposed to being evaluated and want to maintain corrupt practices like the selling of teaching positions. It is true that the official union, SNTE, has a long history of corruption - its leader was actually imprisoned by this government for corruption, when she finally fell out with them after having being their faithful agent for many years in attempting to subdue the dissident teachers and push through 'reform'. However it is precisely against this rotten system that CNTE is fighting, as it struggles to build a different kind of education, one based on the ideas of Paulo Freire - rooted in communities and answerable to those communities and not to a corporate testing agency.

Despite a government climbdown over the teacher evaluation issue, teachers are keeping up their protests until the entire 'reform' package is repealed. They are promising to block highways in the south and occupy the airport in the capital.

To read more background to the long struggle of the Mexican teachers, go here.