Teachers in the Punjab region of Pakistan are protesting the privatisation of schools there. Hundreds of teachers demonstrated outside the Rawalpindi Press Club last week demanding an end to the policy.

Leaders of the Punjabi Teachers Union (PTU) say that 5000 schools are being handed over to the Punjab Education Foundation. This body was set up to oversee vouchers and the setting up of low fee private schools. The PTU says that the PEF will then go on to hand the schools over to NGOs, private individuals or presumably chains, like Bridge International Academies which operates primarily in Africa.

The UK government paid for Pearson's chief education adviser, Sir Michael Barber, to give intensive advice to the Punjabi state. This took the form of advocating the usual corporate 'reform' measures - not least privatisation and vouchers. In addition Punjab's teachers are subjected to temporary contracts and performance related pay - making their already very low salaries even worse. Curricula are to be scripted and standardised, as is testing, with the emphasis on data collection, which is then used to beat teachers over the head. Barber called all this 'the good news from Pakistan.' in a presentation to the World Bank.

The PTU has been in the forefront of defending public education, teachers and children against these attacks.