The lives of student teachers are being made more difficult in many parts of the world. We have been closely following the dreadful events in Mexico, where 42 student teachers were abducted, apparently by security forces, last September and to date have not been seen again. Last month we reported on the callous attitude of the Kenyan government to student teachers in Garissa college in Northern Kenya, who saw 142 of their classmates slaughtered by Alshabaab. They are now expected to return to the same site to complete their studies or give up their plans to become teachers, which would be insensitive in any event, but is made worse by the fact that there is no increased security.

In May, we reported the struggle of student teachers in Ghana, who have had their allowances withdrawn, making it virtually impossible for them to continue their studies. They started a strike then, and a spokesperson for the Trainee Teachers Association of Ghana said today that they are planning five months of demonstrations, until the allowances are restored.

Meanwhile in Nigeria, the government has withdrawn funding for the salaries of teachers working at the University Demonstration Primary Schools, which are central to the training of teachers in the country. The university staff union (SSANU) has staged a protest and is threatening strike action against what would effectively mean the privatisation of the schools, and many job losses among the teachers. The government is claiming that the teachers working at the schools are 'ghost workers' - a comment which SSANU described as 'highly offensive.'

Governments and the World Bank pay lip service to the importance of 'great teachers', yet systematically denigrate their work. In the same way they talk about the importance of teacher education, while too often treating student teachers with contempt and worse, and putting insurmountable barriers in the way of their studies.