teacher-robot-south-korea.jpg  A robot 'teacher' in South Korea Why have human beings to teach when you can have machines instead? Many teachers all over the world feel as though they are treated like robots - programmed by governments or corporations to deliver packages of learning to the flexible workers of the future. Certainly this seems to be what the powers that be would prefer - no more teachers demanding to be treated like creative professionals, protesting about wages and conditions and generally making their voices heard. Certainly no-one teaching children to think for themselves and ask awkward questions about the world they live in. Well - as reported earlier on this site scientists have come up with a solution - the robot teacher. Now these charming creatures are being rolled out in large numbers in classrooms in South Korea - in the first instance with pre-school children and if that is a 'success' onward and upward to elementary schools and whole class teaching. The South Korean government is investing $11 million on robot teachers next year increasing to $36 million and aims to have 8000 robot teachers and assistant teachers in classrooms by 2013. Despite the nearness of this post to April 1st (a date when many Europeans play practical jokes on one another) this is not a hoax but is actually happening in South Korean schools. This nightmarish development would seem to be the logical conclusion of a neo-liberal education policy which sees teachers as technicians and children as so much cheap labour fodder for the continuing enrichment of international plutocrats. Those of us who teach know the deep human interaction which is necessary for good teaching and learning to happen. Previous posts on this site have reported the attacks on the South Korean teachers' union by their government. We offer them all our solidarity in the face of this latest development.