latblog.jpg  A Protest Rally against Public Spending Cuts in Riga, Latvia Education budgets are being slashed all over Eastern Europe as the result of the economic crisis A new report from Education International shows how governments throught Eastern Europe are slashing education budgets often as a result of pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Just as in countries in the Global South, the IMF demands that governments cut public spending as a condition for loans - which have become necessary because of the very neo-liberal economic policies which have been so vigorously promoted by the politicians and bankers who run the IMF.  In every country in Eastern Europe it is the people who rely on public services who are being made to pay for a crisis which is not of their making. Education and in particular teachers' salaries are in the front line for cuts with many governments actually cutting teachers pay for example in Bosnia-Herzogovina and Hungary teachers' pay is being cut by 10% and in Latvia by 20%. These cuts are taking place against a very low rate - for instance in Romania the average salary earlier this year was $485 per month. Understandably this situation is causing a rise in militancy amongst teachers in Eastern Europe with strikes planned for example in Latvia and Romania. When asked by EI what help the Eastern European unions would like from that organisation as well as asking for information and help with lobbying governments the Latvian Education and Scientific Workers' Trade Union would like to engage in an open discussion with members and leaders of education unions, in order to better organise and plan actions in the face of the crisis. This is the sort of work which this website thinks is vital if we are to fight back against the decimation of education services - not only in Eastern Europe but all over the world. To read the report in full go to: http://download.ei-ie.org/Docs/WebDepot/2009_ImpactOfCrisisOnEducationCEECountries_en.pdf