Thousands of Egyptian teachers who have been protesting for one week outside the Cabinet building in Cairo have agreed to suspend strike action to give the government time to respond to their demand for the Minister of Education to step down.
Most public school teachers agreed to suspend the nationwide strike for one week until the education ministry is able to present a timeline to meet their demands following a mass protest on Saturday. However, some school teachers in the cities of Beni Seuif, Sharkiya, Suez and parts of Cairo have continued the strike pending ‘positive steps’ by the ministry.
Egyptian teachers have been on strike since the start of the academic year on 17 September. The action was called by EI’s new member, the Independent Teachers’ Union in Egypt.
While the Ministry of Education has downplayed the scale of the strike, activists have said it was across the country. The strike comes on the back of a protest on 10 September when thousands demonstrated outside the Cabinet building to voice their demands for better pay and working conditions, as well as greater government investment in what are widely believe to be notoriously overburdened educational systems. The key demands of teachers include the resignation of the Education Minister, Ahmed Gamal El-Din Moussa, the payment of a promised 200 per cent incentive, and the hiring of teachers on permanent not temporary contracts. Teachers have also asked for a minimum wage of EP3,000 (US$500) per month.
Click here to see a video produced by the NASUWT (UK) union about working conditions for teachers in post-Mubarak Egypt.