Thousands of teachers protested on the streets of Guatemala on Thursday, January 23 demanding more funds for education. Major roads were blocked by protestors throughout Guatemala as teachers burned old tires and nail riddled boards. Traffic was haunted and vehicles were not allowed to pass. The leader of STEG, one of the teaching unions calling the protest, said, “We don’t want there to be schools without programs or students without food.”
The teachers believe 35% of the budget should be spent on education – at this time the figure is 16%. As well as demanding a pay increase, the teachers are also calling for money for school supplies and school meals.
The minimum wage in Guatemala is the equivalent of approximately $500 per month. Teachers in Guatemala earn $440 a month on average, although many are on temporary contracts and earn only half that amount.