The government of the Sindh province of Pakistan is considering banning all teaching union activities in order to 'improve and strengthen' the work of teachers according to reports. The Chief Minister said: 'Teachers should not form unions and act like political parties.' Thier job is to 'teach classes'. In fact the teachers could not agree more - they had angered the government by boycotting election duties last month, which take them out of the classroom. Such non-teaching compulsory duties are common throughout South Asia. 

Primary teachers staged a protest against the Sindh Government at the end of October, protesting that the Minister needs to be taught 'manners and ethics.' Many teachers have had their pay stopped and promises to give teachers permanent contracts have not been kept.

400 primary school teachers in Sindh staged another protest yesterday (5th November) - because they have not been paid at all for eleven months. One protester said: 'It is the utter failure of the Sindh government and education department. We don’t have any other jobs and in the absence of salaries it has become impossible for us to feed our families.'

This is education 'reform' red in tooth and claw. Another state in Pakistan, Punjab has been under the tutelage of Pearson's chief education adviser for several years and no doubt the Sindh government is learning lessons from there. The desire to weaken or, as in this case, destroy teaching unions, who are the most important line of defence for public education, teachers and children, is an integral part of the reform project. In Pakistan, teachers are resisting against all the odds, under circumstances where many have not even got the means to survive.

To read more about education reform and struggles against it in Pakistan go here.