Liberian Teachers struggle for Living Wage
Outside a Schoolroom in Liberia
Liberian teachers are struggling for a living wage
The teachers - who are members of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) - earn as little as $100 a month. This is not enough to live on and even to claim this meagre amount, teachers in rural areas have to travel for many hours to the administrative centre - a journey which can cost up to half their salary.
Teachers in Liberia work in overcrowded classrooms with minimal resources and facilities. Administrators have to dig into their own pockets to buy even such basic necessities as chalk. The government which claims to be committed to education for all, has abolished school fees for primary age children. However as in so many other countries in the Global South - no resources have been provided by the government to make up the shortfall.
Ellen Varfley, President of NTAL told teachersolidarity "our union has no negotiating rights. Teachers cannot afford to pay dues and we have no office to do our work. Yet the NATL has been in existence since 1938. We have struggled through two civil wars and are working in appalling conditions. We need basic facilities if we are to function."
NTAL are campaigning for 25% of GDP to be spent on education. The government plans to decentralise education but with no indication of how the funding will work.
85% of the Liberian population live below the poverty line, yet as in so many other countries in sub-saharan Africa, multi-national corporations are making huge profits from the country's resources including iron ore and rubber and are now buying up licences to explore potentially massive offshore oil reserves.
The teachers of Liberia need international solidarity and they need offices. They have bought land in the capital Monrovia. If any organisation or individual can offer them help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org