Delegates at the conference of the largest teaching union in Peru, SUTEP, meeting this weekend in Lima, have voted overwhelmingly for an indefinite general strike against the neo-liberal education policies of the government. The strike will start on the 27th May.

In particular the union is fighting the increasing privatisation of education in Peru, which they say goes against the agreement across the Americas for free and universal public education. More money is being spent on private than on public education in the country, which as SUTEP says: 'has a damaging effect on students, parents and teachers.' Moreover the government is attacking the labour rights of teachers, using and dismissing temporary teachers and they have been aided in this by the pro-government union CEN SUTEP which has signed agreements on the topic.

SUTEP has called on parents, students, Peruvian intellectuals and teachers in general, to stand against these developments and support the general strike which will also involve protest marches, pickets and sit-ins.

While the government has increasingly promoted the introduction of 'accountability' mechanisms like performance related pay and the commodification of education, SUTEP has been struggling to develop an alternative pedagogy, particularly in remote rural areas, based on the principles of educationists like Vygotsky and Freire, to improve public education and make schools into truly democratic places which are at the centre of their communities.