Teachers in the Upper Nile state in South Sudan are on strike because they have not been paid since the beginning of June. Teachers in the country are being called 'unpatriotic' by the minister for education according to reports. The minister told the press that teachers ought to be prepared to work for nothing as they had done during the 21 year civil war. One headteacher who was at the meeting told the press: “He blamed us that we have no patriotism. That we don’t love our country and we must go and teach or else he would look for jobless people to come and occupy our positions. The minister should know that not every educated person can be a teacher.He needs to have teachers in the class not jobless people. We would be ready to listen to the minister if he was soft but it is unfortunate he was not."

Meanwhile students supported the teachers and demanded that they be paid. Two journalists attempting to film the students' protest were arrested by security forces in a reported government effort to suppress publicity for the protest. And a parent told the press: “We urge the government to quickly look into the issue of teacher’s salary to be paid all so that they get the children back to their normal lessons in schools." The strike which covers both primary and secondary schools is now in its second week.

South Sudan relies on oil for much of its income but disputes with neighbouring Sudan have led the government to close down the oilfields. And as is so often the case, teachers are expected to pay with their incomes for an economic crisis which is none of their making.