Teachers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are threatening to strike this week as thousands of their colleagues have still not been paid according to an agreement signed last year. Moreover hundreds of new teachers have not even been put on the payroll. Ugwalubu Mowana, General Secretary of the PNG Teachers Association says that the government is completely mishandling the payroll and has been for years. Even a full scale strike in 2006 failed to make them act.

PNG is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with rich natural resources like gold, copper, nickel, cobalt and oil. Companies like Exxon Mobil and Total are making massive profits in the country while a third of the population live in poverty. Meanwhile the International Monetary Fund is pressurising the country to further liberalise its services. The Governor of the World Bank and the IMF in PNG praised the country for its 'prudent fiscal policies and good macroeconomic management.' Clearly much less importance is placed on the salaries of teachers than on the extraction of profits.

it is interesting also that PNG has 848 different languages - a fine example of why teachers steeped in local culture are so important and World Bank data driven solutions, which are also being pursued in PNG are irrelevant and damaging.