GASABO - School opening on Monday saw the Ministry of Education retire a total of 1,363 teachers who had reached retirement age and could not cope with the intensive training conducted to embrace English as the new language of instruction.
All the laid off teachers in the age group of between 55 and 65 were teaching in primary schools.
The development was revealed by Eric Karimba, the Education Officer in charge of primary education in the Ministry of Education.
“They had reached retirement age and couldn’t cope with the changing situation,” he disclosed adding that all the affected teachers were given their full terminal benefits.
At the start of 2009, responding to a government directive, French was replaced by English as the language of instruction, leading to intensive training to prepare the teachers to give their lessons in English.
Others despite being faced with the language issue, but still young, were given a chance in the training.
The first retirement package was disbursed by the Ministry of Finance and then they went on to access their pensions from Social Security Fund of Rwanda [SSFR].
Karimba revealed that during the screening process others were found without adequate academic qualifications.
“We found that some didn’t have diplomas, but because they had been in the service for long, we granted them retirement packages,” he said.
When contacted, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, the new State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education ,said that the payments were made depending on a teacher’s length of service.
But an administrator in the teacher management and staffing section in the ministry who requested anonymity said that there were cases of teachers who had been previously stopped and cleared for pension but were later rejected by SSFR.
“Some had not reached the working period of 15 years while others had a few years to the official retirement age of 55.
SSFR rejected the proposal to put them on pension and have since been sent back to teach,” said the official.
He disclosed that other teachers who were stopped were non-nationals.