Teachers in the Punjab region of Pakistan are threatening repercussions for the government's imposition of performance related pay and tenure. The Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) is threatening to boycott participation by teachers in a scheme, which involves them going door to door to try and enrol out of school children. 

The teachers are incensed at the way in which test results are being used not only to determine teachers' individual salaries, but also to sack teachers whose pupils are not thought to be 'performing' well enough. Some 55 women teachers in the Chiniot area have lost their jobs according to reports. Teachers are being targeted under the so-called 'Discipline and Accountability Act', which punishes those whose students got marks of less than 25% in state exams. As  a spokesperson for the PTU said, this takes no account of the conditions under which teachers have to work, the class sizes, the hours of work and so on - all of which would be completely unacceptable to teachers working in the North.

The scheme, which the teachers are threatening to boycott, is called the Emergency Enrolment campaign, and is another example of the way in which teachers in India and Pakistan are held responsible for every aspect of children's welfare. Teachers are commonly expected to be responsible for children's health, immunisation campaigns, distributing uniform, school meals and a multitude of other tasks such as elections and censuses. As a result they have little time to teach, which makes the performance related pay and tenure scheme doubly unjust.

Unfortunately for the teachers of Pakistan, they have been subject to the attentions of Sir Michael Barber - an export from the heart of neo-liberal school reform - who started his work under Tony Blair in England. He was the inventor of the term 'deliverology' and responsible for refining many of the tools used to force so-called accountability on teachers in many parts of the world, such as high stakes testing and performance related pay. He was paid nearly $7000 a day for advising on the 'improvement' of Pakistan's education system under the auspices of the UK Department for International Development and McKinsey consultancy group. Needless to say his prescription was standardisation, data collection, testing, pre-determined lesson plans and the whole raft of 'reforms' being peddled by outfits like Pearson PLC. it also goes without saying that he did not address the real problems of the education system such as poverty, chronically low pay, the use of temporary contracts, very poor conditions in schools, large class sizes, the use of teachers for work other than teaching - not to mention the political instability in the country. As usual, and as in the punishment meted out to teachers in the Punjab, the prime cause of education failure is seen as being the hard-pressed teachers themselves.