Teachers in Kenya are to strike today in pursuit of long-standing greivances over pay and the need for thousands more teachers to be appointed.

Members of both unions in Kenya - the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenyan Union of Post Primary Teachers (KUPPET) are to strike, despite threats by the government that disciplinary action will be taken against them. KNUT General Secretary Akello Misori said: “We will not be cowed and intimidated by threats from TSC (Teachers Service Commission) as the strike is legal as all channels have been followed."

The salary which the teachers have been fighting for has been promised since 1997. Teachers are unable to afford basic accommodation on the pay which they presently earn and there is much sympathy in the country for their plight. They are not only fighting for more pay however - they are also campaigning for the hiring of 40,000 more teachers - the country is short of 100,000 teachers. At present classses are huge and facilities very poor.

The situation has been exacerbated by the governments plan to spend $.6 billion on a laptops for schools scheme, which has been heavily criticised - both by parents and teachers.

Teachers in Kenya have lead the global fight against the use of contract teachers, campaigning for and winning last year the transfer of thousands of teachers to permanent contracts. However the government, including the new administration of Uhuru Kenyatta, is still expecting teachers to work for starvation wages, still failing to fund basic infrastructure in education and still not giving the hiring and training of teachers the priority which it needs.