Teachers in South Sudan are taking action against the non-payment of their salaries. This is the second time in so many months that the teachers have had to resort to strike action in order to be paid. After the last strike in October, 30 leading teacher unionists were arrested and another 11 teachers have been sacked for organising the protests. The 30 have now been sentenced to a month in prison.
Students at one school in Bor Town have taken strike action in support of their teachers, refusing to sit their examinations until their teachers are released from prison.
Teachers at present can earn as little as $7 a month and even that was not paid for November. The government had promised them a 300% pay rise, but with inflation running at 800% that is completely inadequate.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but since 2013 a brutal civil war has been raging, with some 300,000 people killed and 25% of the population displaced. Human rights organisations are fearful of more violence in the coming period.
It is amazing that under the circumstances, teachers can teach and children can learn. The situation in the country is largely ignored by the world's media but teachers globally should express their solidarity with their beleaguered colleagues, who are fighting for their survival and the survival of education in the country.