Teachers in the Philippines have mounted a campaign with local communities to fight government measures which are causing huge damage to the education of children. The campaign, which is called Save Our Schools, is fighting on multiple fronts. 

First of all, schools are desperately underfunded, some lacking classrooms, laboratories and even seats. Moreover in a situation where there is a serious shortage of teachers, the government has terminated the contracts of thousands of teachers in public schools.

Because of the lack of publicly funded education, many peasant and indigenous communities have set up their own schools. These schools are now subject to attacks, in particular by the military, including using them as military bases, and as spaces for a counter-insurgency campaign. This is particularly directed at communities who are standing up to mining, logging and agribusinesses. The counter-insurgency campaign has resulted in the criminalisation of resistance, including the killing of thousands of activists and leaders. 

The government has also issued a directive to close many of the indigenous schools, and replace them with public schools, with the military acting as para-teachers.

Now the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) are working with communities and churches to fight these attacks on education. Their demands include:

 

  • Military troops must pull out of schools and communities
  • Books, not bullets! Education not militarisation!
  • Defend our future! Save our schools!