The government’s decision to raise primary teachers’ salaries by 88% and secondary teachers’ salaries by 40% from August is expected to improve their welfare, retain teachers and contribute to quality education, said Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.
He was speaking on Monday, August 1, as he briefed both Houses of Parliament on the Government’s activities in basic education under the National Transformation Strategy (NST1). The first phase of NST1 runs from 2017 to 2024.
Ngirente told parliamentarians that the decision to raise teachers’ salaries was approved last week by the Cabinet meeting after considering the financial means of teachers, their well-being and the link between this and the quality of education. education.
The Cabinet, he said, realized that the 10% the government had added to teachers’ salaries each year was small and made no significant difference, and decided to increase it.
Ngirente explained that the increase will be based on a teacher’s current starting salary.
As such, he indicated that the move will see the monthly salary of a newly recruited primary school teacher increase from Frw 57,000 to Frw 108,000; and that of a secondary school teacher [holding a bachelor’s degree] from 170,000 Frw to 245,000 Frw.
For secondary schools, those eligible for the salary increase are university graduates – with A0 and A1 levels.
Talking about teacher turnover
Ngirente said the education sector loses around 1,000 teachers each month due to low salaries.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister observed that the government was spending Rwf 300 million per month or Rwf 1.2 billion per year to recruit teachers to replace those who left the education sector.
“You realized that one of the factors leading to this problem was the small salary [which we have increased now], where a primary school teacher would quit teaching to become a motorcycle taxi driver. We believe this will not happen again, thanks to the 88% salary increase,” he said.
“We hope that the teachers will be stable,” he observed.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister said that the development will increase the borrowing capacity of teachers, adding that the government has allocated an additional Rwf 5 billion to the Umwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative (Umwalimu SACCO) so that they can get loans.
“We hope that the welfare of the teachers will improve with this decision, and that the teacher will continue to apply for loans from Umwalimu SACCO and can develop. This is what we want as a government, to ensure that a teacher provides education while they are safe and have an income that allows them to support themselves and their his family,” he said.
In 2016, the National Union of Teachers of Rwanda (SNER) demanded that the minimum monthly salary of Rwf 80,000 for a primary school teacher.
The union then argued that such a minimum wage could somehow help a teacher meet basic needs such as meals, transport and accommodation.
And, currently, the cost of living has become high, which necessitates even a higher minimum wage.
A welcome gesture
Talk to The new timesStephanié Mukangango, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers of Rwanda said that the salary increase involves valuing a teacher and education in the country in general.
“It shows that education is being cared for and that the quality of education the country wants will really be achieved…now a teacher is happy,” she said.
Currently, she says teachers are struggling to make ends meet, but [some] teachers are committed to pursuing this profession.
Overall, MPs welcomed the government’s decision which they say is in line with improving the welfare of teachers and ensuring an enabling environment for students to receive a quality education by motivating teachers.
MP Gamariel Mbonimana said the increase in salaries for primary and secondary teachers “will restore the image of the teaching profession and ensure respect for those who do it”.
To ensure quality education, Mbonimana said “there is a need to recruit quality teachers and retain them,” highlighting the need to gradually increase teacher salaries as one of the retention strategies.
Statistics shared by PM Ngirente show that the number of primary school teachers increased by 45% from 41,573 in 2017 to over 60,000 currently, indicating that this was a result of increased construction of new schools and recruiting more teachers for a better education offer. .
For secondary school teachers, the Prime Minister said, they have increased from 21,000 in 2017 to around 28,500, implying an increase of 35.7%.