Teacher’s welfare at the centre of new drive to boost quality education

Kigali: Effective March 2019, primary and secondary school teachers in public and government aided schools in Rwanda will have their salary increased by 10 percent, as part of comprehensive reforms in education sector adopted by the Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting held on January 28, aimed at boosting the quality of education.

“This move is expected to complement other existing mechanisms to improve teachers’ welfare. With increased salaries, teachers will increase savings and be able to access more loans from Umwarimu sacco” Education Minister Dr Eugene Mutimura said.

Other existing mechanisms include the establishment of Teachers’ Saving and Credits Cooperatives (Umwarimu Sacco), teacher housing program, Girinka program and continuous professional development.

Apart from salary increment, the new reforms are also set to address issues of teacher management, career advancement, learning assessment and language proficiency.

In Improved Teacher Management (recruitment, retention, development and monitoring), the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) is expected to lead the recruitment of teachers and deployment process for pre-primary, primary and secondary education while Rwanda Polytechnic will champion the recruitment and deployment of TVET trainers. Both recruitments will be done in a coordinated and transparent framework involving the Ministry of Public Service and Labor and the Ministry of local Government.

The teacher management will be complemented by the Teaching Career Path Advancement, where education courses shall be prioritized in awarding government scholarships, the same as Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses. Non-refundable scholarships will also be given to all students in education courses who have effectively served for a defined period.

Teachers’ classification (junior, senior and master) will also be conducted based on seniority, consistent excellent performance, evidence of continuous professional development, innovative teaching and learning methods and materials.

The reforms will go beyond teachers welfare and management to address learning issues, with an emphasis on learning assessment and language proficiency. The administration of Mandatory Standardized English Language Tests (SELT) for students and teaching staff at all levels of education, apart from pre-primary and lower-primary, will help to enhance teaching and learning of English language among learners and teachers.

Rwanda is among the few countries that are on course to achieve the universal primary education, with the country registering 93.93% of primary enrolment in 2017, according to World Bank’s statistics. The government has adopted a new ‘competence based curriculum’, serving as an official document and guide to competency based teaching and learning. (End)