The Covid-19 outbreak has had far-reaching consequences on our education sector. This pandemic also came in the midst of persistent challenges, including uncertainties in the education policies.
Now this week it turned out that the government is paying millions of francs to some 1,566 teachers in public schools who are working without legal documents.
Simply, what this means is that there are teachers on the government payroll who are not documented anywhere. It’s difficult to justify or even ascertain how they get paid.
The report by the Public Service Commission also found that some 4,087 teachers work without appointment letters. This is in addition to 762 teachers who are working without academic qualifications to demonstrate that they are qualified teachers.
The Commission attributed this to the prevailing incompetence of labour inspectors.
However, a closer scrutiny of the issue reveals that the problems are bigger than they appear.
This is the epitome of inefficiency. It is a signal of possible widespread corruption in the form of favouritism, nepotism, and abuse of authority in the recruitment process, which should be investigated.
It also raises concerns that the recruitment process could be bypassing the criteria and casts doubts on the transparency of the pay packages for teachers.
These weaknesses are likely to sabotage the country’s development efforts and undermine the goals to build an efficient and accountable public sector.
As the Minister of education recently said that; “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.”
Therefore, the ministry of education, Rwanda Education Board and the Public Service Commission should work together to strengthen the process of hiring teachers.
We understand Rwanda Education Board was given the mandate to recruit and place teachers in secondary and primary schools.
Previously, this was done by districts.
The findings in the Public Service Commission exposes weaknesses in the process. There’s a need to fine-tune it in order to foster merit-based recruitment.
In the past we have also had cases where teachers are allocated to schools where they are not needed while other schools continue to grapple with the shortage.