Teachers in Kenya are to strike over government plans to spend $620 million on laptops under a scheme called 'laptops for schools', designed to 'spark a child's digital future.' The laptops are being bought where Kenya is short of almost 100,000 teachers and where teachers are paid so badly that many of them cannot even afford the cost of basic accommodation.

The teachers' union the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT) says that the government has got its priorities wrong in spending large amounts of money on laptops under these conditions. Moreover parents' groups are unhappy because pupils and their parents will be responsible for the replacement of the laptops in the case of loss or damage - something which would be impossible for most parents to afford. Also students living in poor conditions or in flood-prone areas may well find it impossible to secure their laptops from damage. The schools themselves are unable to provide safe storage space for the laptops - some of them don't even have classrooms so that students have to learn under trees, and where there are buildings they are often grossly inadequate with no sanitary facilities for example.

Moreover many children in Kenya are hungry, yet the government has just stopped the free milk programme for schools. As an editorial in the Kenyan newspaper the Star says: "Providing laptops to all schoolchildren is hugely expensive. Giving free school milk to all school children is relatively cheap. And almost certainly school milk is more likely to make the next generation better educated."

E in Kenya are also unhappy - fearing that Kenya will become a "dumping ground for electronic wastes from other nations if this programme and policy is implemented hurriedly in blatant disregard of al concerns". They have demanded a moratorium on the project.

Kenyan teachers are threatening the 'mother of all strikes' if the government does not listen to reason and provide spending for basic infrastructure in schools, decent salaries and more teachers before embarking on the laptop project.

Needless to say corporation is providing support for the project.