There are four stories today about teachers being owed salaries, a situation which is making it virtually impossible for them to survive, leave alone do a good job.

In Zimbabwe, teachers protesting over unpaid wages were brutally beaten by police yesterday and their leaders arrested. In Gabon, teachers have embarked on a four week strike over the failure to pay them wages owed to them.

In the western Nigerian state of Kwara, teachers are about to embark on a strike. In their case they have not been paid at all for four months. The chair of the Nigerian Union of Teachers said 'the primary school teachers in the state have been loyal and dedicated to duty in spite of the failure of the government to pay them salaries for months.' He warned that the primary school sector in the state would collapse, since teachers could not be expected to teach if they could not afford to eat. He also pointed out that the private sector was making hay out of the impoverishment of public schools and teachers. 

Meanwhile in Tanzania, teachers are also owed thousands of dollars in back pay. The chair of their union said it was impossible for them to pay for the basics of life and that they were living in dilapidated houses.

Four stories in one day - all in the global south - in this case in the continent of Africa, but we suspect this is the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile organisations like the World Bank continue to bemoan the state of public education, more often than not blaming the teachers and demanding ever more draconian 'accountability' measures. We would like to see some of the World Bank education 'experts' trying to live on a Gabonese or Nigerian teacher's wage, even if it was paid regularly.

If you really want* education for all, World Bank economists, try paying teachers!

* Although we doubt if the World Bank does want what we would recognise as education for the vast majority of the world's children.