For the second day straight, teachers across Egypt continue a national strike against the government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.
Ministry of Education spokespersons announced that the overwhelming majority of Egypt’s one million teachers have reported to work.
However, according to several independent sources, 65% of teachers did not report to classrooms.
Teachers are demanding that Sharaf honour promises he made to workers last spring to raise wages and living standards.
Egypt’s educators want the government to implement a LE1200 monthly minimum wage, to release a 200% productivity bonus promised to public sector workers, and to discontinue merit tests, among other issues.
The Independent Teachers’ Union called the strike.
Work stoppages began across the country on Saturday and were strongest in governorates like Beni Suef in Upper Egypt.
The strike spread to Cairo and Giza on Sunday where school officially starts a day later than the rest of the country.
The minister of education, Ahmed Gamal El-Din Moussa has denounced strikers for “prioritizing sectional interests over national good.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has stationed a police vehicle with 3 officers at schools around the country to maintain readiness for emergency situations.
On the other hand, Independent Teachers said, in a pamphlet it issued to the public, that it called the strike not only for economic gains but to improve conditions for students.
Teachers say that they want higher wages and smaller class sizes in order to discontinue the practice of private lessons which are costly to poor students.
In the Cairo neighbourhood of Imbaba, teachers have walked out of a number of schools and are organizing a march on the local board of education.
In Hawamdiya district of Giza, Maha Hamdy, a primary school 6th grade Arabic language teacher told Ahram Online that teachers in 25 out of 37 schools have joined the strike.
Parents have kept many of the more than 13 million students in the system away from school in anticipation of the strike.