The Ministry of Education has pledged sustained advocacy to ensure teachers get more incentives to improve their welfare, which will result into quality education.
The pledge was made last Friday by Samuel Mulindwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, during the Teachers’ Day celebrations in Southern Province, which was held in Nyanza District.
The celebrations, like elsewhere in the country, included rewarding best performing teachers at provincial, district and sector level.
Restituta Mutuyimana, who teachers social and religious studies at Higiro Primary School in Gisagara District, emerged the best performing teacher in Southern Province and was rewarded with a motorcycle and laptop.
She was recognised for the impact she has had in her community, despite remaining committed to her duties as an educationist.
Mutuyimana notably mobilised mothers engaged in cross-border trade with communities from the Burundian side to set up a nursery school where they leave their children as they go about their business.
She was also recognised for her role in ensuring all children in her community attend school, including buying school uniforms for some 64 children and using her resources to pay for meals for those from vulnerable families.
Meanwhile, Solange Umurerwa was rewarded with a motorcycle for being the best teacher to optimise the services of Umwarimu SACCO, a teachers’ saving cooperative.
The celebration also rewarded best teachers at district and sector levels.
Mulindwa commended the teachers for embracing hardworking spirit and revealed that in the 2018/19 fiscal year, more incentives would be provided to teachers and these will be expanded annually if everything goes according to plan.
“Besides more incentives such as injecting more money in Umwarimu SACCO to build its capacity so that you get loans at lower interest rates, we have put aside more incentives in this fiscal year to complement teachers’ salaries,” he said.
He added: “We will agree on what to do in terms of those incentives and they could be consistent if plans go well.”
He said that such incentives and the rewarding of teachers for their commitment is a sign that a teacher is very valued in Rwanda because of the role they play towards the country’s development.
Mulindwa said efforts will also be sustained to scale up internet in schools and give laptops to teachers every year besides continued expansion of the Smart Classrooms initiative.
Every year 400 laptops are expected to be given to teachers across the country.
Appollinarie Uwizeye, who spoke on behalf of teachers in Southern Province, said that teachers are engaged in different activities even outside classrooms, including promoting hygiene in communities, unity and reconciliation and security among others.
She thanked government for the support to improve teachers’ welfare, especially through Umwalimu SACCO, but noted that more still remain to be done.
“We received training under the new competency-based curriculum, ICT for smart classrooms and we are financially supported but there are still challenges. These include low salaries, insufficient teaching materials, and others,” she said.
Marie Rose Mureshyankwano, the Governor of Southern Province, said quality education will only be achieved when teachers are well facilitated and their welfare guaranteed, adding that the government is aware of this.
“Nothing will be achieved if teachers’ welfare is bad. That is why government invests a lot in improving their lives through Umwalimu-SACCO that complements the low salary,” she said.
She pledged that Umwalimu SACCO services will continue to be decentralised.