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Congo: Public university students and lecturers on strike for close to a month

Congo: Public university students and lecturers on strike for close to a month

Republic of the Congo

Students, lecturers and other staff of the Marien Ngouabi University in Congo Brazzaville are on strike for close to a month demanding improved working conditions and unpaid allowances.

The strike started at the beginning of the 2016/2017 school year on September 3 and the teachers and students’ unions have threatened to continue striking until the government pays the allowances owed them.

“We cannot end the strike until full payment is made to solve our situation,” the deputy secretary general of the Union of Higher Education Teachers (Synesup), Didier Ngalebaye told AFP.

We cannot end the strike until full payment is made to solve our situation.

He said the strike was initiated because the Congolese government had not paid allowances for the second quarter of 2016 which amounts to 900 million CFA francs (more than $1.5 million).

The strike was jointly organised with all the colleges of the university and the Movement of Congolese Students (MEC).

“We demand the payment of two quarters of scholarships. We will not return to the university if the scholarship is not paid,” an official of the MEC told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The government says their difficulty in paying the funds is due to the socio-economic situation facing the country as a result of the falling oil prices.

“It is no secret that our main resource is now being sold at about half the price it was two years ago. This inevitably alters our commitments, our balances and is a clear difficulty,” the Minister of Higher Education, Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, told the press on Wednesday.

Oil exports account for over 70% of the revenue of the Republic of Congo.

Marien Ngouabi University is the only state-funded university in the Republic of Congo and it’s located in the capital, Brazzaville.

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