More teachers have been forced to take strike action in Malawi in an attempt to get money owed them by the government. Last month we heard that 700 trainee teachers in Lilongwe had had to exist for five months without pay. Now 70 primary teachers in the Karonga area are on strike because they are owed back pay. Interestingly, reports say that their strike is affecting 9000 students - meaning that the average class size must be approximately 130 children. One striking teacher said, 'it is difficult to work with an empty stomach and most of the time we are going to the bank to see if our salary has been honoured.' One education analyst in the country said that, unsurprisingly, many teachers were losing heart and beginning to search for other jobs.

As we reported late last year, when children as young as nine were protesting on the streets and demanding that the government pay their teachers, teachers in the country can earn as little as $50 a month, and yet Malawi is a country from which tobacco corporations make massive profits, both by exploiting small farmers and through the use of child labour. Even as it is creating the enabling, low tax and low regulation environment to allow this to happen, the World Bank is also engaged in a five year project to 'improve education quality in Malawi.' Dollars are being poured into decentralising education and big data and testing systems, while the latest project report admits, 'The shortage of . . .  teachers may have adverse impact on teaching and learning and on learning outcomes.' You couldn't make it up.