Unqualified teachers in dilemma

Isaac Munyakazi. File.

Teachers without the required qualifications will be relieved of their duties in two months except those who still have lessons, the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, told The New Times.

Teachers for years have been offered a grace period to acquire the required qualifications for their posts – either a two-year diploma or bachelor’s degree and some did others not.

Munyakazi said the ministry tried to help with loans and Umwalimu Sacco tried to help them to upgrade their studies.

He added that they had been given ample time and that by January 2020 only qualified teachers will remain.

“We are in the process of recruiting teachers and it will only depend on qualifications. In two months we will replace unqualified ones, however those who have started school will be considered for they are in the process of qualifying,” said Munyakazi.

Various teachers who spoke to The New Times said that they faced financial difficulties, which prevented them from upgrading their academic qualifications.

Many of them said that their salary is not sufficient to enable them to pursue the degree

“An announcement was issued a few days ago that a teacher without a degree in education is not allowed to register as a district teacher. I think it’s over now,” said one teacher from Bugesera District.

“It is my 10th year in my teaching career, but I didn’t get the means to go back to school. I am now counting days to quit my job” one non-qualified teacher lamented.

Another teacher from Nyabihu District said: “I have preferred to finance my bachelor’s degree in education by using my own resources since we no longer get teachers’ bonus. But there are many teachers at our school who have failed to upgrade their studies due to financial constraints”.

Munyakazi explained that there is no relationship between the number of years of experience and being qualified.

“Experience has no duty in being qualified, if you miss one quality you have to improve it,” he said.

According to the Director-General of the Rwanda Education Board, Irenée Ndayambaje, the move is related to the fact that a teacher’s quality is the most influential factor that determines student success.

“When students are taught by under-qualified or unqualified teachers, it limits their academic potential, however, highly qualified teachers are more likely to stimulate students’ desire to learn and succeed,” he said.

According to the estimate from the Ministry of Education, the country has 63,000 teachers, with qualified teachers in primary accounting for 98.6 per cent while in secondary schools they make 76 per cent.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com