nigerschool.jpg A School in Niger Contract teachers in the sub saharan African state of Niger are on strike over the failure of government to pay them properly. While 6,000 teachers have permanent contracts and continue to work, the 37,000 contract or temporary teachers are on strike. They earn at most $160 a month as opposed to their colleagues on permanent contracts who earn a maximumm $240. The government is blaming the teachers for striking because they say it will prevent the country from reaching the millenium development goal of all children in primary school by 2015. At present 57% of primary age children are registered for school. However this is being done at the expense of teachers who are working for a pittance and not being properly employed. This is a policy which is encouraged by the world bank which has noted with satisfaction that: 'recent progress in education in Francophone countries resulted from reduced teacher costs, especially through the recruitment of contractual teachers, generally at about 50% of the salary of civil service teachers.' The government says it cannot pay the teachers because it hired more than expected but had not got the money to pay the agreed rates Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world with half the population being under the age of 15. The life expectancy is 52. It is at the bottom of the United Nations list of human development and yet it has one of the world's largest uranium deposits as well as gold and other metals. Needless to say these are exploited by foreign corporations principally from Canada and France but also from the USA, UK and now China and India. This does not however benefit the people of Niger. On the contrary the revenue that the government gets from the foreign companies is used to fund arms and mercenaries to avoid insurgency while the rest is salted away in foreign bank accounts.  The average income in Niger is $280 per year.