The teachers’ welfare body, Umwalimu SACCO, has declared its plans to avail housing loans to thousands of its members across the country.
The disclosure was made yesterday by the Managing Director of Umwalimu SACCO, Joseph Museruka, in a phone interview with The New Times.
The project is one of the measures being put in place to improve the standards of living among teachers. This, according to government, will in turn improve the quality of education in the country.
“We are in final talks with the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) which promised to finance the project that is expected to help teachers own houses,” said Museruka.
He explained that the loan, if approved will be serviced by the teachers in a period of fifteen years. Asked if the teachers will be able to service the loans with their salaries, Museruka said that they are planning to give small loans of not more than Rwf 4 million.
“It is possible because it is a small loan and besides, there are plans for the teachers to get involved in other income generating activities, which will help them service the loans,” he said, adding that plans to put teachers into cooperatives are underway.
He further said that part of the project will include identifying areas near schools, where such houses would be put up in form of settlements as opposed to building them separately.
“We want the houses to be built in planned settlements near schools and we have begun contacting districts to come up with the sites for the houses.”
Speaking to The New Times, Jeanine Uwamariya, a primary teacher in Gakenke District welcomed the move.
“I can’t wait for the loan to be availed; I will be among the first people to apply for it. The issue of accommodation is a big one for many teachers in the country,” said Uwamariya, adding that the scheme would help teachers have a settled mind and concentrate on their profession.
According to the Executive Secretary of Teacher Service Commission, Emmanuel Muvunyi, the program would complement a number of other measures being put in place to reduce the problem of attrition among teachers.
“It is a retention strategy to reduce the high teacher turnover. Lack of accommodation featured highly among the reasons for teachers abandoning their work in the past,” he said, adding that the loan incentive would be a retaining and control tool.
Muvunyi said that besides the project, government is also planning to put up several teachers‘ houses near schools to help newly transferred teachers get accommodation as they prepare to own houses.