Teachers union leaders in Argentina say that 98% of teachers are participating in the 48 hour nationwide strike against low pay and bad conditions in schools. The strike comes at the beginning of the new school year after the winter break. 

Teachers' pay is not beginning to keep up with the rampant inflation in the country, which is running at almost 20%. Moreover the conditions in schools are very bad, with 90% of them lacking basic necessities like water supply and with overcrowded classrooms. When teachers demonstrated about this in August, they were beaten by police and one of their leaders arrested. As one teacher put it, 'we are being brutally silenced.'

Teachers say that they are being blamed for the poor state of education in the country, but as one said: 'The government wants to hold us accountable for the situation but it is the other way around, how can we provide core education to our students in overcrowded classrooms and earning less and less every month?'

This is particularly pertinent in view of the latest World Bank report about teachers in Latin America, which holds them responsible for any perceived failings in the education service, with no consideration for the conditions in which teachers have to work, their worries about low pay, the poverty of children and their families and the frequent violence which is meted out to them when they protest.

As we reported back in August, during the last 48 hour strike, Argentina is presently being harrassed by international speculators in hedge funds and finance institutions such as Goldman Sachs, who hold bonds in the country and are demanding repayment. Partly as a result of this, the country is suffering from accelerating inflation. Meanwhile, Buenos Aires City mayor is millionaire business man Mauricio Macri, who pursues pro rich and pro privatisation policies. Argentina has one of the oldest public and secular school systems in Latin America, which is why its adult literacy rate is second only to Cuba's and higher than that of the US. Yet the kind of policies being pursued by Macri and other elites in the country mean that this is being progressively run down, while private education thrives.