malawi.jpg  A Primary Class in Malawi Teachers in Nigeria and Malawi are taking action over the non-payment of salary owed to them In the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory (FCT) teachers in LEA primary schools are owed months and sometimes years of back allowances, while their colleagues in the rest of the area have received theirs. As a result the teachers are on strike until the situation is resolved. This is not a new problem for Nigeria - there have also been strikes by the Nigerian Union of Teachers in Delta and Oyo states recently for the same reasons - the failure of state governments to pay money which is owed. This is against a background where teachers are on pitiful salaries - about $100 a month and working in appalling conditions and in a stiuation where 10% of the world's children who are not in school are in Nigeria. While the World Bank ostensibly promotes the Millennium Development Goal for Unviersal Primary Education it arranges for the country's oil assets to be privatised for the benefit of multi national corporations like Shell and forces the Nigerian government to cut public spending. Meanwhile in Malawi rural teachers in the Mswan'oma state have not been paid the $32 allowance for working in far flung schools which was promised to them 4 months ago. The allowance is paid to make up amongst other things for the fact that the schools have no electricity or water - a situation hard to imagine for those of us teaching in the Global North. Teachers in the province are now sitting in and refusing to teach until the situation is resolved. Malawi too has been the recipient of World Bank Structural Adjustment programmes. As well as strangling plans to introduce new learner centred and critical forms of teaching at birth, in telling the government how it should cut public spending it advised in 2003: 'the physical capacity of existing classrooms and other teaching facilities can be substantially and immediately expanded by increasing the number of schools on double shift and by increasing class size from the current average of 33.5 to 40 learners.' It is under these circumstances that teachers are not even being paid the small amounts of money which they are owed - leave alone a decent salary.