Teachers in the Punjab area of Pakistan protested last week against the privatisation of schools. The leader of the Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) said that the government had privatised 5000 schools across the state and made education inaccessible to thousands of children.

Meanwhile hundreds of teachers have been sacked, and as the PTU spokesman pointed out, 'The government claims that it wants to raise the education standards. This cannot be done if there are no teachers in classrooms. The government is trying to justify privatisation by undermining public education.'

Teachers salaries are already at poverty level in the Punjab, but thanks to a related aspect of so-called 'reform' their salaries are being docked for a variety of performance 'failures', such as 'failing to maintain cleanliness standards at schools' or 'failing to ensure pupil attendance.'

Both the privatisation, the running down of public education and the blaming and punishing of teachers were promoted and organised in the Punjab by Michael Barber, chief education adviser to Pearson, who regards his work there as 'the Good News from Pakistan'.

The teachers in the Punjab continue to be the main defenders of public education, and the main block to corporate 'reform'.