kenyastrike.jpg  Kenyan Teachers on Strike Last Year Teachers in Kenya are threatening strike action if the government does not pay them a long overdue pay rise and employ thousands more teachers Teachers in Kenya can earn as little as $130 a month - they recently had their allowances cut and yet they are having to work in the most difficult conditions with oversize classes and minimal resources. According to the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT) there is a shortage of 66,000 teachers. One of their leaders Wilson Sossion told Education International: “It is a serious disaster and parents and people of goodwill should join us in this mother of all strikes. We cannot accept to have schools where 3.4 million children are receiving a half-baked education.” Meanwhile 40,000 teachers in Kenya are unemployed. and the government has been trying to fill the gap by employing so-called 'interns.' KNUT has given the government notice that if they do not come up with a 60% pay rise and tackle the teacher shortage by providing more funding for education the teachers will go on strike. For many years the KNUT has made agreements with the government which the government has then reneged on - this appears to be another such case. Meanwhile Kenyan MP's have voted themselves a massive pay rise which means they will be taking home a hefty $185,000 per annum - making them some of the best paid legislators in the world. This is extraordniarlily provocative given the low pay of vital public servants like teachers and given that the average annual income is $730 per annum and the majority of the population earns less than a dollar a day. As the website http://allafrica.com puts it: "When the country registers a boom, when poverty levels start to decline and when the majority of Kenyans access affordable education and healthcare, then the citizenry will have no issue with such a pay rise for their Waheshimiwa" Regular readers on this site will know that Kenyan teachers have had to take strike action in the past two years and that they have faced brutal repression with many teachers arrested. Teachersolidarity would like to hear from any teachers involved in the strike - either post a comment or contact me at mary@teachersolidarity.com - we will also be happy to pass on messages of solidarity. Menawhile EI has expressed their support for the impending strike - for more details go to: http://www.ei-ie.org/en/news/show.php?id=1313&theme=statusofteachers&country=kenya