As Rwandan teachers today join their colleagues worldwide to celebrate the International Teachers’ Day, several educationists have called for an increment in salaries to match the current market prices.
Today thousands of teachers are expected to flock to Nyamirambo Regional Stadium to celebrate the day under the national theme; ‘Developing teachers based on mentality change’.
“There is a lot to celebrate, there are achievements we are proud of as teachers in Rwanda, however, even though salaries were increased some time back, it is still low compared to the current market prices,” said Steven Rwamurangwa, the headmaster of Kayonza Modern Secondary School.
Another headmaster, Martin Masabo of Lycee de Kigali in Nyarugenge District, echoed his colleague’s concern, saying that indeed teachers need a salary increase.
“We have come from very far, before the genocide, teachers were paid peanuts, beans and maize flour, later they were paid Rwf20, 000, and currently, head teachers are paid Rwf180, 000,” said Masabo.
He however hastened to add that this salary is still low even compared with the remuneration of other civil servants with the same qualifications.
Masabo said that besides other civil servants being paid more than the teachers, there are such incentives like easy access to vehicles and other benefits.
Masabo and Rwamurangwa concur that these imbalances have led to teachers quitting their profession for greener pastures, which poses a threat to the quality of education which the government is working hard to promote.
Other problems teachers complain about include lack of staff quarters at the schools where they teach which leads to them even spending the little they earn on transport.
Josham Mwesigye of Bright Light Primary School, Ndera told The New Times yesterday that there was also a very big gap in salaries of teachers in public schools compared to those in private ones.
Meanwhile, all the educationists who spoke to The New Times yesterday praised the government’s efforts to uplift teachers’ livelihoods through the credit cooperative commonly known as Umwalimu SACCO.
Through this cooperative, teachers now get their salaries on time.