Students in Togo have once again shown their solidarity with their teachers by taking to the streets in support of their struggle for decent conditions in schools and a living wage. Teachers and health workers have been on strike and as a result schools are closed. The students came onto the streets to demand that the government accede to the teachers' demands and were met by police. In similar protests in 2013, two students, including a 12 year old were killed by police.

One of the protesting students said that even though they were pupils they still understood the difficulties facing their teachers: 'Sometimes our teachers can't even pay for food. The government must respect their commitment. Its important for the future of the country.' The demonstrations were not limited to the capital Lome according to reports, but had spread to other parts of the country, particularly in the North.

As well as demonstrating on the streets of the capital, the students also improvised a sit-in outside the university hospital. The government reacted by shutting down all schools in the country - primary and secondary. A spokesperson for the striking teachers and health-workers said, 'We are not going to give up. We will fight to the last until our demands are met'

In a further development, leaders of the teaching and health union STT said they had been threatened with arrest. A spokesperson said: 'we are calling the workers, all the Togolese people and international opinion to witness. The Togolese government will have have the sole responsibility for the consequences if such arrests are made.' Togo is characterised by a lack of human rights, police repression and a lack of democracy.

This latest struggle by teachers and school students in Togo makes nonsense of the claims by the giant corporation Pearson, the World Bank, the Gates Foundation and others that one of the keys to the lack of school attendance and educational graduation in the global South is smart data. Until teachers are paid a living wage and they and their students are given proper conditions in which to learn and work, there can be no solution of any sort. The passionate desire of the students to be educated, as well as their solidarity with their teachers, is clear. But as long as the wealth of Togo is syphoned off by foreign corporations, helped by corrupt politicians, the World Bank and the IMF, these students are unlikely to be able to realise their dreams.