Teachers in Egypt are under attack under new laws passed in March of this year. They, along with all the other public employees affected, including doctors, pharmacists and some transport unions, have signed a letter condemning the laws. Under the new reality, pay would be set by statute, hours can be increased arbitrarily, managers have the right to sack workers with no right of appeal and temporary employees have no right to achieve permanent contracts.

The situation in Egypt is very grave and is made all the more tragic by the fact that it was the bravery of these very same workers - not least teachers and doctors - which brought about the fall of Mubarak and the hope for independent trade unions and democratic labour rights. Moreover both the health service and the education service were desperately underfunded under Mubarak. In the case of education, a huge proportion of teachers were on temporary contracts, some earning nothing at all, the need to extract fees from families through semi-compulsory after school lessons was rife, class sizes were often vast and infrastructure poor. And the teaching unions were controlled by the government.

The hope that the uprisings in the country would bring an end to these situations, has been dashed, public education is as underfunded as ever and teachers as badly treated. Moreover, as these latest legal moves show, the government of Fatah el-Sisi, which came to power in a military coup, is as repressive as the government which was overthrown in 2012.

Needless to say none of this stops that great champion of education and democracy, the World Bank, from doing business in Egypt. Its leader Jim Yong Kim is visiting next week to 'help unlock the country's potential.' Some indication of how they are going to do that is indicated by a press release from the World Bank's brother organisation the International Monetary Fund, which praises the government's 'reform' programme and agrees 'on the need to broaden tax revenues and control current spending, including by enacting swiftly a modern VAT and continuing reforms of subsidies and of public sector wage-setting and hiring.' So it's back to neoliberal business as usual in Egypt - meanwhile teachers and their students continue to suffer, as do all the majority low income population of that country, as public services and democracy continue to be attacked.

To read more background on the struggles of teachers in Egypt, go here.