The government has announced new incentives that will see primary and secondary school teachers’ loans scrapped if they teach for a particular number of years.
The incentives were approved by an extraordinary cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame this Monday.
Under the new arrangement, which was announced yesterday during the post-cabinet media conference, government will waive repayment of student loans for a primary school teacher who teaches for three years after graduation.
The same will be extended to a secondary school teacher who joins the profession and teaches for five years.
With more university graduates shying away from joining the teaching profession because it is one the least paying, the Minister for Education, Eugene Mutimura, hopes the new incentives will boost teacher retention and encourage more people to join the profession and help improve the quality of education.
The incentives are better for primary school teachers who he said would be supported to advance their education.
“Those who complete O’Level and spend three years studying from Teacher Training Colleges and eventually teach in primary schools will be given priority when it comes to scholarships and, besides scrapping their student loans if they agree to terms, we will give them scholarships to join university,” he said.
What it means
Mutimura told The New Times in a separate interview that this means while any student on government scholarship is required to begin refunding the money as soon as they start working, those joining the teaching profession will not be required to.
“Upon beginning their teaching profession, they will not be required to pay back their scholarship because we are hoping that he or she is going to teach for three or five years and the loan will be scrapped. That’s different for all the other professions because they are expected to begin paying back that money as soon as they start working,” he said.
Among other things, teachers will be given levels where they will start as juniors and later to master so that the Government can track and allocate incentives as someone spends more years in the profession.
Besides that, the government will this year spend Rwf11 billion to cater for the 10 per cent salary increment for both primary and secondary school teachers, which was announced on Monday.
Mutimura said that teachers’ salaries will continue to be raised gradually if resources improve.
He pointed out the significance of the pay rise, saying that among other benefits, it would increase the teachers’ chances of getting bigger loans.