Reports say 5 people were killed and 30 wounded during protests in Guinea at the government's failure to resolve the teachers' dispute. Teachers have been on all out strike since the beginning of the month and as a result all the schools and universities have been shut. Students and school children, who protested against the closure and in support of the teachers' demands, were met by security forces using tear gas and possibly live rounds, since two of the dead were shot.The security forces in that country have a history of violently suppressing dissent, 157 were killed in a peaceful demonstration in 2009.
The teachers' strike was called over the government's decision to cut thousands of teachers' salaries and its failure to give permanent contracts to thousands of others. This is in a situation where classes are typically as big as 85 and infrastructure often dreadful. Moreover the country and its education system were devastated by the Ebola epidemic in 2014.
The teachers' strike has caused a major crisis in the country and there were reports yesterday that the government had reached an accommodation with the unions. It is to be hoped that the teachers have achieved their goals.
There is no reason why the education system should not be funded properly. Guinea is the leading source of bauxite in the world, and has diamonds, iron ore, and is a hub for illegal narcotics in West Africa, making millions for foreign coprorations and criminals while 47% of the people live below the poverty line.