guineablog.jpg  A School in Guinea Bissau Leaders of Guinea Bissau's teachers' unions have suspended the three month strike which has closed schools in the country The leaders have suspended the strike in order to give time to the new government to sort out the financing of education - however they say they are ready to resume the strike at any time if their demands are not met. Teachers are owed five months back pay and bonuses. Teachers in Guinea Bissau are battling against almost insuperable odds to teach the country's children. Besides receiving no pay for three months, their pay when they get it is only $73 permonth - some of the lowest in West Africa. Not only this but the schools lack basic equipment - even chalk, desks and chairs were not available at the beginning of the 2008/9 school year. In addition most teachers are untrained and some have not even completed primary school. In 2003 schools were closed for a whole year when teachers went on strike because they were owed 19 months of salary arrears. Guinea Bissau is one of the five poorest countries in the world. Like most developing countries it has been subject to Structural Adjustment Programmes which have forced it to 'liberalise' its trade and promoted privatisation. The countrry does export agricultural products and is the fifth largest grower of cashews in the world but this potential wealth does not get through to the majority of people - the income gap between rich and poor is one of the widest in the world.