“Why don’t our cousins have school?” I ask my family.
“Because the teachers are on strike. They haven’t been paid.”
Last month, I had a conversation with my aunt, who is a teacher at a public school, surrounding this topic. At that time, she told me that teachers were getting paid for the month of November. Can you imagine? We were in January, and teachers were getting paid for November!
There is no need to say that there has to be an urgent solution. Radio talks featuring teachers, professors, ministry of education employees, and government officials fill a good percentage of my mornings while riding a service taxi to the university I attend. Each person has their own complaint, their own solution, but no one is listening.
Who are the casualities in this situation? First and foremost are the teachers and their families, and there is no need to explain to you what they may be going through, especially if the household income comes from teaching. Second in line are the students. How is a new generation supposed to be brought up with education when they cannot go to school because teachers are on strike? Schools may not be all that, some will say, and they do not teach us everything, but still, everyone has a right to an education.
This is a rather short talk about a rather complicated issue, and it seems like I should mention statistics and problems and quote officials. I will not do that, though. Numbers and “important people” talking don’t really cut it. The teachers and school children are not a bunch of statistics charted in graphs and pie charts.
In Occupia* if there is no strike, there is something ongoing with the occupation. If the occupation is not having an immediate effect, then there is a strike from within. School children are caught in the middle of this.