Teachers in Osun State, Nigeria have held a three day strike this week to demand proper funding for education. The state branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) says that the state is failing to provide even basic teaching materials like chalk, registers and testbooks as well as failing to pay various allowances to the already poorly paid teachers.

The local branch of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) has supported the strike and called on the NUT to mobilise communities, parents and students to defend education if the government does not provide the necessary funding.

Interestingly the government of the state is apparently co-operating with the World Bank to improve basic education, including the provision of ICT facilities as well as other instructional materials and retraining teachers. A CDWR spokesperson suggested that rather than enhancing education the government reforms were an 'elitist venture' and 'just another conduit pipe for mismanaging and looting the resources of the state.' The answer was to properly fund and democratise education through the working together of teachers' unions, parent forums and student groups.

At present the need is to persuade people to become teachers under the present conditions - thousands were forced out of teaching in 2012 and not replaced. Moreover 2100 schools have been merged into 900, causing many students to drop out of school altogether because they cannot afford the transport.

Meanwhile World Bank policies are causing more anxiety and disruption nationally. The NUT is threatening 'the mother of all strikes' if the government goes ahead with its plans to devolve education down to the local level - another favourite World Bank 'reform' policy. When something similar was tried in the early nineties thousands of teachers were left unpaid for months on end and some older teachers have still not been able to access their pensions as a result. The head teachers union has said it supports the NUT's plans for a strike if the policy goes ahead.