Last Year's Strike in Egypt
Members of the independent teachers union in Egypt are calling for a strike beginning on the first day of term
The new term begins in Egypt on the 16th of September and teachers are demanding a pay rise, permanent contracts and an end to corruption in the education ministry. Teachers want a minimum salary of about $500 a month - at present they earn typically less than a third of that. The independent teachers union says that these were the same demands which were at the centre of last year's strike
but that almost nothing has changed.
Because salaries are so low, teachers have to supplement their incomes by taking other jobs, particularly private tuition which is much better paid than teaching classes in public schools. The union wants to see an end to this and the only way this can happen is by giving teachers a decent salary. The official union is not supporting the demonstrations and strike call but many teachers are expected to heed the call.
One teacher told the website Egyptindpendent: “The ministry claims that striking will deny students their education.Yet if we strike, we will do so for the sake of providing students with a higher quality and standard of education. Striking shouldn’t be considered a crime or a selfish act.”
Teachers are also protesting against large class sizes - 50 to 55 students in a class is the norm and classes are often even bigger. To read more background to this story go here