Trainee teachers in Ghana are to start an indefinite strike next week, when the new term begins. The 48,000 teachers who are members of the Trainee Teachers Association of Ghana (TTAG) are taking the action because the government has withdrawn funding for either allowances or fees, leaving them with huge bills to pay and nothing to live on.

The trainee teachers' action is being supported by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT). In a detailed press statement TTAG says that education will be adversely affected by the change, not to mention the hardship to the students themselves. It points out that parents cannot afford to maintain their children in the colleges, that potentially good teachers were being turned off training and that those who did stay were having to work long hours to maintain themselves, with an obvious detrimental effect on their study.

To add insult to injury, the Ghanaian government has refused even to meet with the teachers, with one leading spokesperson saying there was no need to pay the allowances and describing the teachers as 'good for nothing students.' At present the trainees receive a maximum $200 a year and have to pay at least three times as much as that in fees.

Ghana is still seeking credit from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which, as it always does, is demanding cuts in the public sector and in particular the wage bill. Once again teachers and in this case the next generation of teachers are being made to pay for this. Yet Ghana is Africa's second biggest economy with oil, gold, diamonds, cocoa and timber. However it is not the majority of people in Ghana who are reaping the benefit but mega corporations like BP and Exxon Mobil. And companies like Pearson have also seen the opportunity for profit, investing in a chain of so-called low fee private schools in the country called Omega. Meanwhile teachers are being denied the opportunity to train.