In an extraordinary development, the Kenyan government is attempting to break the strike of Kenyan teachers by advertising for 70,000 temporary staff. This is bizarre and wrong on many levels. First of all, Kenyan teachers have every right to withdraw their labour - a fact which is self-evident but in any event was confirmed by the Kenyan courts. Therefore hiring strike-breakers in this way is interfering with teachers' democratic right to fight for justice in one of the only ways open to them.

Secondly, the government is advertising for qualified teachers. If there are 70,000 unemployed teachers in Kenya, then why has the government not given them permanent conract already, in order to so something about the massive class sizes (often over 100) which teachers in many parts of Kenya are having to cope with?

Thirdly if the government does indeed have the money to hire these teachers, then why is it not using it to obey the numerous court orders which have instructed it to pay the agreed 50 - 60% pay rise to those already in post.

It is obvious that the strike is strong. The employers side admit that the vast majority of teachers are on strike - almost a quarter of a million in both teaching unions KNUT and KUPPET. Wilson Sossion, KNUT General Secretary has asked principals not to co-operate in the hiring of teachers and has said moreover that if any are hired they should be taken on permanently to address the teacher shortage. But he warned anyone thinking of applying:  'The commission will treat you the same way they are treating the striking teachers.'

This is a deeply provocative move by the employers. Nowhere in the world do teachers go on strike lightly. But Kenyan teachers have had enough of a government which mouths the importance of education while treating them with contempt, as it continues to allow corporations to evade billions in tax revenues. It is people like the struggling Kenyan teachers and their supporters who are the real heroes of public education - not the celebrities and corporations making noises about it in New York this week. 

Solidarity with the Kenyan teachers!

La lucha continua!