Teachers and communities in the Philippines are fighting the so-called K12 reform being brought in by the Aquino government and instead demanding proper funding for schools. Teachers, parents and students held protests outside schools in many parts of the country as well as filing legal cases against the reform.

The teachers' union - the Association of Concerned Teachers (ACT) - is that instead of bringing in the 'reform' measures the government start funding public edcuation. Teachers say that the country is short of 113,000 classrooms, yet only 4.42% of the money that was allocated in the budget to construct classrooms has been used. Schools are also short of teaching materials, furniture and in come cases electricity and water supplies. Some areas have no schools at all. In others, parents are having to pay out of their own pockets for services like security and caretaking.

Meanwhile up to 100,000 teachers are likely to lose their jobs, despite the fact that there is a shortage of 57,000 teachers, meaning oversized classes and other temporary solutions to the lack of staff. Those who are in post are on low salaries - starting teachers earn $400 a month - and have not had a pay increase in five years.

The K12 reform seems to be a typical example of what has come to be known as the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) - a measure cloaked in the language of social justice and equity, which in fact opens the door to further attacks on public education, teachers and students. While the government is claiming that it is providing education for all from kindergarten to year 12, in fact public schools have not got the capacity to teach the upper classes, meaning that the door will be opened to private schools through a voucher system.

Pearson to the rescue

And surprise, surprise - guess which company has got its nose in the K12 reform trough?  are opening a chain of private schools or Affordable Private Education Centres (APECs). They are doing this with a mega Philippino corporation called Ayala with a diverse business portfolio. Said Pearson's Sir Michael Barber: 'We are excited to invest in APEC, PALF’s largest investment to date.' I bet they are! And moreover Ayala's spokesperson makes clear what their mission is (apart from making a profit): 'There is strong global demand for Filipino talent and our vision is to deliver high quality, affordable education that can significantly enhance students’ employment potential.' So they make money and create the kind of workers capital needs - what's not to like?