Contract teachers in Cote d'Ivoire teachers have been waiting for nearly two years to get permanent contracts. They were recruited in April 2012 to help with a severe shortage of teachers and they are still waiting.

The education minister, Kayoute Aboule, when asked why the contracts were not forthcoming, told reporters: "It depends how long the files take to process." The leader of the contract teachers said they would go on an indefinite strike if the situation was not rectified:« The contract teachers of Cote d"ivoire en general  . . . are in a state of complete insecurity. We don't know our status and that demotivates us on the ground." 

The education minister has threatened "Those contract teaches who go on strike will be replaced." This is not the only threat the teachers face if they go on strike. When they struck last year against poverty pay they were attacked by security forces and many activists were arbitrarily arrested. However the minister's words are a clear example of the use of temporary contracts as a means of disciplining teachers - a policy which is rife throughout the global South and one that is actively promoted by the World Bank in policy documents like 'Making Schools Work', which in a section on contract teachers says: 

The use of contract teachers can strengthen the scope for local monitoring of teacher performance by parents and school councils, which results in higher teacher effort, which results in better student learning outcomes. In contexts where the supply of adequately trained teachers is not constrained, these positive outcomes can also be achieved at lower cost per student.

The final point is particularly cruel. Contract teachers can be paid as little as 10% of what teachers on permanent contracts earn, as the document makes clear in its case studies, even though permanently employed teachers in the global South typically earn as litte as two or three dollars a day. So keeping teachers in a precarious position is a way of saving money as well as disciplining teachers to do exactly as they are told. It is a policy which has caused teacher suicides in many parts of the world as well as severe stress and depression. It is also one which has been opposed vigorously by teachers and their unions in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South America. Earlier this week we reported on a similar struggle in Sri Lanka and now they are joined by their colleagues in Cote d'Ivoire.