zamblog.jpg  A Classroom in Zambia Members of three teaching unions have been on strike in different areas of Zambia over unpaid allowances Like their colleagues in many other parts of the world (see for example the last blog post on Honduras) teachers in Zambia are having their allowances witheld. The teachers are members of the ZNUT, BETUZ and SESTUZ unions. Some grievances about back pay date back as long as 6 years. Not only that but ministry officials are deducting money from hard pressed school budgets - which should be used for learning materials - to pay for 'monitoring activities'. Zambia is a prime example of a country whose economy has been ruined by interference from international institutions. Despite having rich natural resources particularly of copper and having strong growth the life expectancy for the average Zambian is 38 and unemployment is running at 50%. Structural Adjustment Plans from the World Bank privatized the copper industry so that the wealth which could be being used to fund public services is syphoned off to global corporations. The average income is less than one dollar a day and 86% of the population live below the poverty line. Zambia once had a thriving education system but this has also been decimated. Parents have to pay school fees and in many schools the local community has to raise the money for teachers' salaries, buildings and resources. If you have experience of the situation in Zambia and would lkie me to include it on the site please contact me at the folowing lilnk: mary@teachersolidarity.com