This site often posts about teachers being owed their already low salaries in many countries in the global South. Nowhere does this occur with more regularity than in Nigeria. Now with a slump in oil prices, the meager public resources received by the state from the extraction of oil are squeezed and so teachers in ten of the 36 states are owed money, many unpaid for months. 

The hardship caused by this state of affairs can only be imagined. Teachers and other public servants often support 20 to 30 family members. Some teachers have died as a result of poverty, others are having to sell off the little property they have, many are having to take second jobs in order to survive. Some have to beg and many go on strike in an effort to get paid. And of course this situation does not only affect teachers and their family members, it also affects the children and education.

Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa. Companies like Shell and Exxon Mobil make mega profits from its rich oil deposits, which should be benefiting Nigeria's people. Not only that, but many foreign corporations also engage in massive tax avoidance schemes with a recent report estimating that Nigeria has lost $217.7 billion in tax revenue by such means over the past 30 years.

Nigeria has a growth rate which western economies can only dream of. It is an assumption of education 'reformers' that economic growth is the way out of poverty and that education is a prime way of delivering that growth. The plight of Nigeria's teachers could not show more clearly that this is a myth and that in fact it is political elites, foreign corporations and the already wealthy who benefit from growth, while those living in poverty - less than a dollar a day - represent 61% of the population.

It is not only a myth, it is also deeply cynical - the same World Bank which advocates for conditions which favour 'the ease of doing business', blames teachers for failing to deliver, most recently in a World Economic Forum article.  It would be good to see the people in this rich man's club, trying to exist on a Nigerian teacher's wage, leave alone on nothing, which is what too many teachers are receiving. Yet this dire situation does not stop them attacking teachers for low standards and taking the view that 'on its own, investing in inputs will not yield improved schooling outcomes.' Try telling that to the impoverished teachers of Nigeria!