A rural Primary Class in Ethiopia
Teachers have been on strike in Ethiopia last week demanding a living wage
A starting teacher in Ethiopia earns approximately $90 a month which is scarcely enough for one person to live on. The government had promised a pay rise which would honour their professionalism, so teachers were hoping that their situation would be improved. However when the increase came it was only 4.5% - as little as $4.5 a month for some teachers which with inflation at 36.3% made no difference to their situation.
As a result many teachers were angry and took strike action despite intense pressure from and fear of the authorities. The legitimate Ethiopian Teachers Association
has been disbanded by the government and its leader was imprisoned for many years. The government set up a surrogate ETA, which unsurpisingly is happy with the paltry increase handed out by the government. Meanwhile teachers are forced to take unofficial action which leaves them open to victimisation - they have been threatened with unspecified 'measures' if they strike.
Like many countries in the Global South, Ethiopia is not only controlled by a repressive government - that government is also a willing servant of the International Monetary Fund which in one of its latest plans
for the country calls fo reduced public spending, increased privatisation, the development of Public Private Partnerships, deregulation and all the other familiar prescriptions which have been foisted on people in the Global South, with disatrous consquences. At the same time as calling for a reduced public budget, the plan congratulates the government on getting closer to the Millennium Development Goal for Primary Education, while mentioning in passing that the average pupil teacher ratio in primary schools is 69:1 and in secondary 78:1!
To read a more detailed report of the current situation for teachers in Ethiopia go to: http://www.addisfortune.com/Agenda.htm