Sudanese teachers on the frontline for education, freedom and social justice– By Donny Gluckstein, member of EIS-FELA Executive and EIS Council
The EIS is fighting the cost-of-living crisis and opposing new Tory anti-union laws. But we are not alone in our struggle. Spare a thought for the Sudanese Teachers Committee (STC).
In 2019 a mass uprising ended the 30 year dictatorship of Omar el-Bashir but in 2021 a military coup, led by General Al -Burhan seized back power. The people took to the streets: protesting, organising, and fighting for freedom with amazing bravery and resilience.
The Sudanese Teachers Committee was one of the first independent unions. It successfully organises tens of thousands of educators across all 18 states of Sudan. The STC works with resistance committees, (neighbourhood-based networks) which mount a constant stream of protests against the coup under their slogan ‘No legitimation, No partnership and No negotiation’.
In March 2022 the STC struck for salary increases and implemented a boycott of marking and exams. With widespread student support they forced the Ministry of Education to the negotiating table winning better pay for many.
The fight for education and pay continued, the STC joining the widespread call for more general strikes in August. In October teachers marched in processions across Sudan in support of eight demands. The first was for a 20% increase in education spending in a country where UNICEF reports 7 million children cannot find school places.
To build up momentum the STC created ‘escalation committees’ and mobilised demonstrations, The next strikes began on November 28th and continue. On January 9th Sami Al Baqr, STC media spokesperson said, “It is gradually progressing. A 3-week strike has been announced with teachers not attending schools. Responses outside Khartoum show very high involvement, over 90%”.
Recently the STC met the Treasury Minister for the first time ever, but just as the EIS is being blocked by the government and COSLA, so the STC reported, “The meeting was disappointing. We came out with nothing. Following the meeting we escalated the strikes.” The STC is appealing for international support to put pressure on the regime and you can help.
- Send messages of solidarity to the Sudanese Teachers’ Committee on Facebook email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook. We will collect the messages and pass them on
- Sign our statement condemning repression in Sudan https://menasolidaritynetwork.com/sudan30june/
- Take a solidarity photo to send a message from picket lines and strike rallies using the graphic.
- Pass this motion:
We recognise the great achievement of the Sudanese people in overthrowing the Al-Bashir dictatorship. We support them in the creation and building of resistance committees, independent unions and other activist bodies in their resistance to the present military coup regime. We support the struggle for civilian rule and for freedom and social justice. We support the Sudanese Teachers Committee in its fight for proper funding of the education sector and for decent pay.
We agree to send a message of solidarity to the STC
We agree to send a letter to our MP supporting the STC demands.