Primary school pupils in Benue State, Nigeria, have been on the streets demanding that the government pay their teachers the minimum wage in order to avoid a strike. The government had promised to start paying teachers the statutory minimum wage in August but the money has not materialised. Nor did the government pay any heed to the protests of the school children - so since last Thursday the teachers hae been on strike.

A spokesperson for the Federal Government said, "``We do not pay salaries based on the needs of the workers, but rather on the available resources within our disposal." Which is an interesting point of view and perfectly obviously the case, since teachers scarcely earn enough to survive as it is and the primary teachers in Benue are worse off even than their colleagues. 

Meanwhile there is a big movement in Nigeria to defend and promote public education, which is being led at present by university teachers union ASUU and students, along with the Education Rights Campaign (ERC). The university teachers have been on strike for three months, fighting for proper funding for public universities. The ERC sent a delegation to the Nigerian National Union of Teachers last week, to urge it to carry out its plan to strike in solidarity with ASUU. Their visit was received warmly by NUT leaders.

As we reported last week, the World Bank meanwhile is continuing to interfere in Nigerian education, with a raft of neo-liberal 'reform' measures.