The administration should think carefully about how best to fund primary and secondary education. A teacher’s salary anywhere in the world is always too little, but in Rwanda it is at the point where the educators and inspirers don’t care about their jobs anymore.
Some are even employing other means of income, and only the students will suffer.
Rwanda must take education seriously. A country poising itself on a knowledge-based economy must show a dogged pursuit towards excellence. The current education crisis could get to the point where it is embarrassing to the image the country has tried to promote.
It is all about priorities. There are many things to build and few means to build them with. But education must be forever allied with priority as, along with strong family planning, they are the only ways Genocide ideology can truly be eradicated and made extinct.
It begins and ends with the teachers. The New Times believes it important to remind primary and secondary school teachers that despite low pay, there is no excuse for not doing your job. The lives and futures of millions rely on teachers’ integrity and devotion to education. While a teacher must also live, eat and sleep like any other, the essence of their work is one that cannot be dismissed for lack of interest.
All educators must return to work immediately so that Rwanda’s high-velocity development is not abandoned.
But the government must play its part. Disregarding the importance of education, and at the very least sending the wrong signals to teachers will lead to lack of trust. Full-time teachers must be given respectable, necessary salaries, and if finances are unavailable, other services must be extended to them.
For example, parents-teachers associations such as those functioning in some East African countries like Kenya and Uganda can bring much to the quality of life of educators as well as build bonds between the two most important parties of social sensitisation. It is a partnership which Rwanda’s education authorities should do well to formulate, and regulate well. Ultimately everyone involved benefits – parents, teachers, the learners, and ultimately the government.