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Sudan physicians-in-training and teachers on strike

November 25 - 2020 KHARTOUM
A vigil of medics working at Jabra Isolation Centre in August (Social media)
A vigil of medics working at Jabra Isolation Centre in August (Social media)

Physicians-in-training in Khartoum went on strike yesterday. The strike is to last 10 days and supports the strike of other medical staff. The strikers demand “sustainable jobs”.

The strike excludes emergency departments, isolation centres, dialysis centres, and maternal clinics, the medics said in a statement on Tuesday

Representatives of the doctors met with the Minister of Health on Monday evening. He told them that their demands cannot be implemented at the present time.

“The minister adheres to the same temporary contracts and unconditional jobs [without housing and other services] as in the past,” the statement reads. Their planned ten-day strike will be followed by a comprehensive strike if their demands are not met.

Gradual

The Steering Committee of the Education Workers Union embarked on a gradual strike yesterday.

Yasin Abdelkarim, head of the committee, said that they had negotiated with the Ministry of Finance for months, but the ministry rejects their demands for free education for basic school first grade pupils, and free breakfasts for all basic school pupils.

The teachers also demand payment of the “April salary difference between teachers and employees of the Ministry of Education”, and their Eid El Adha grant. More in general they seek a better salary structure for all teachers.

Abdelkarim said that the committee will resort to a general strike on December 6 if the government does not implement their demands.

World Bank grant

Last week, the World Bank approved a $61.5 million grant toward reforming Sudan’s education system as part of the country’s biggest education financing project, according to the bank’s statement on Wednesday.

The grant will aim to “introduce reforms in the education sector which are aligned with the goals of the Government Education Sector Strategic Plan, particularly for improved education service delivery,” said Milena Petrova Stefanova, World Bank Country Manager for Sudan.

The Sudanese education minister welcomed the support of the World Bank. “The Project will certainly take us a good way towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Education (SDG 4); namely good quality education, and free, inclusive and equitable education,” said Mohamed El Amin El Tom, Minister of Education.

The grant, funded by the Global Partnership for Education, includes a project which will support the improvement of public schools by cutting down tuition, purchasing educational equipment, and increasing sanitation. The funding will focus specifically on schools in underprivileged areas.

The project will also aim to strengthen primary schools’ current operations amid disruptions and closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.


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