A classroom in Uganda Teachers in Uganda are on strike today and tomorrow in their fight for properly funded education Teachers in Uganda are petitioning parliament today about the declining state of education in the country's public schools. At the same time teachers will be on strike, and the government is threatening them with punishment if they go ahead, according to reports. This is just the latest stage in an ongoing struggle in Uganda for proper funding for education and a living wage for teachers. The government abolished school fees in an attempt to meet the goal of universal primary education but completely failed to fund schools so that classes are commonly over a hundred, conditions are very bad and teachers' salaries are not enough to make ends meet. On the question of teachers' wages, we have quoted the following before on this website but it is worth repeating: In an article on the website www.allafrica.com, Professor Nuwagaba, a Development Consultant says the following: “The problem (of teachers’ low pay) has been worsened by the biting inflation now standing at over 21.4 per cent. The food inflation is actually around 43 per cent. This means teachers and all other salaried workers have either to dig deeper into their pockets if they want to purchase the same basket of goods or else they have to cut their budget. “Actually, majority cannot even cut their budget any further because they are already surviving marginally. They are actually on life support! Otherwise, how do you explain the means of survival for a person whose salary is Shs260,000, yet, a sack of charcoal is Shs80,000? One wonders where people get money from. This is why there is high absenteeism . . . because it is about survival. “Unless the teachers are shopping from different markets, it defeats any understanding that one can work and survive on such meagre pay. Talk of patriotism; show me a more patriotic person and I will show you a teacher. Many a person have left Uganda for greener pastures but teachers have worked through thick and thin to serve our motherland.” To read the article in full go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201109090120.html According to the UGPulse website, the co-ordinator for education NGOs in Uganda told reporters that "the quality of education in public schools has over the years declined compared to that in private schools something that is attributed to less funding to the schools and poor teacher remunerations. The two day strike will help remind government of its obligations to increase funding in public schools to help the learners there attain a better education when teachers are adequately remunerated." Organisations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund continue to blame teachers for the failure to reach universal primary education, while organising for the wealth of countries in the Global South, like Uganda, to be exploited by corporations in the North, and used to make crippling interest payments on debts (Uganda is one of the so-called Heavily Indebted Poor Countries), which have in fact seen a net flow of money from South to North. Meanwhile teachers are not paid a living wage and children are taught in classes of 150 in schools with no facilities and virtually no teaching materials.