The union of teachers is advocating for revised social welfare programmes that will provide teachers with duty free shops and allow contracted teachers to benefit from pensions and bank loans.
While celebrating the international teachers’ day, officials from the National Union of Teachers in Rwanda (SNER) voiced concern about persistent high cost of living against low salaries for both primary and secondary schoolteachers.
According to Faustin Harerimana, the secretary-general of SNER, the revised social programmes would benefit private sub-contracted educators who have often been exploited by school leaders.
“The cost of living is not matching teachers’ remunerations, although the government has done a lot to help teachers cope up with the increase of commodity prices; they should consider setting up duty-free shops for teachers like they did for the army and police,” he said.
According to Mr Harerimana, while some teachers in high ranking private schools have often enjoyed salaries that are higher than those of their colleagues in public institutions, another section of teachers in private schools mostly nursery and primary school tutors have been victims of mistreatment.
Recently, the government has been urging teachers without proper qualifications to get a two-year diploma or bachelor’s degree in education to keep their jobs, failure to which they face immediate dismissals whether in private or state schools.
“They need to be fully supported to attain the desired skills, because they are also helping to educate our children,” said Mr Harerimana.
Countrywide, there are about 63,000 teachers.