Teachers without proper qualifications will be relieved of their duties in a year if the Government attains the mimum teacher load at all levels of education, the Minister for Public Service and Labour, Judith Uwizeye, has said.
Teachers for years have been offered a grace period to achieve the required qualifications for their posts – either two-year diploma or bachelor’s degrees in education.
There have not been enough qualified teachers available to replace the unqualified ones, said Uwizeye when she appeared before the senatorial Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions, on Tuesday, to review the Public Service Commission report of 2015/16 and programme for 2016/17.
Some unqualified teachers were expected to undertake in-service training.
“Last year, the Ministry of Education informed us that a grace period had been offered to unqualified teachers who were interested in going back to school,” the minister said.
“In a year, that grace period will expire. Whoever didn’t take that chance will be considered to have no interest in a teaching career.”
Uwizeye said there are various primary and secondary schools where students are taught by unqualified teachers but the Government is addressing the problem gradually until there are enough qualified teachers in place.
“The Ministry of Education cannot immediately dismiss those who are teaching but aren’t qualified,” she said. “We don’t have a way of filling the gap.”
Professional entry tests
The Rwanda Allied Health Professions Council recently said that scores of students from the medical field had failed their professional entry exam.
Senator Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo wondered if the blame should be solely heaped on the students or if the invigilators were also partially to blame.
He suggested that a professional institution in charge of interviewing potential civil servants to verify their abilities be created, arguing that a recent report showed that test-takers were unhappy with their invigilators.
“While interviewees were satisfied with both oral and theoretical tests at a level of 75 per cent, they were disappointed due to the invigilators’ incompetence and unprofessionalism,” he said.
Minister Uwizeye said that since there are more people looking for jobs, tests ease the selection process. However, she agreed that they should be administered professionally.
“Examinations need to be done in a professional manner,” she said. “We were thinking of a framework, where we would accredit government recruitment officers based on skills, experience and professionalism, and we are still interested in pursuing it so that we can do better.”