Teachers in Uganda were on the third day of their strike yesterday, demanding a living wage. They are doing this in the face of intimidation by the government and with the full support of the trade union centre in the country NOTU, which is setting up legal centres all over the country to help teachers who have faced intimidation. Despite the fact that this is a legal dispute, the President, Yoweri Museveni - who has a long record of suppression of protest - is threatening to sack those teachers who take part.

An interesting article in the website Think Africa Press reports that: "Museveni, has allegedly justified his failure to deliver by citing the poor grades produced by government schools compared to the private sector, which he claims pay their teachers less. " As we reported earlier, Uganda is pressing ahead with the privatisation of its education system through Public Private Partnerships, particularly in the secondary sector. Meanwhile the finance minister is reported to have told MPs:" If they can’t take what we are giving them, I think it’s better we sweep them aside and recruit young ones who are willing to take what we can offer."

This could not be a clearer example of the fact that teachers and education systems in the global South are facing the same assault as those in the North. In this case what teachers are facing is privatisation, partly as a means to destroy teaching unions and depress pay, and the hiring of people to take the place of those teachers, who are fighting for properly funded education. In the US it is short term 'teachers' from Teach for America who are taking the jobs of public sector teachers to further their careers, in Uganda they are proposing to take on young people who are so desparate for work, that they are prepared to take even less than the $97 per month earned by primary teachers, presumably without training.

Post a message of solidarity on UNATU's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uganda-National-Teachers-Union-UNATU/129921630428518