The coronavirus pandemic has pushed teachers to the cliff, and as we speak many are facing serious financial challenges that have made it even hard for them to perform their duties.
The back-to-back lockdown and closure of schools subjected many teachers to layoffs and unpaid leave.
The education sector was hit hardest by the pandemic, as some private schools closed, and rendered teachers jobless to minimise cost of operations.
Just as businesses looked towards their banks for salvage as the pandemic affected their financial standings, teachers looked to their Savings and Credit Co-operative-Umwalimu Sacco for help.
However, high interests rates charged on emergency loans have caused grumbling among teachers.
It is against this backdrop that some teachers have raised concerns, saying the interests rates charged beats the purpose of saving with the Sacco compared with commercial banks.
From their meagre earnings, teachers painstakingly contribute up to 5 percent of their salary every month to the scheme, and to be charged an interest rate higher than some commercial banks indicates a policy failure.
The Ministry of Education ought to have looked into the plight of teachers during the pandemic and in collaboration with its many partners, come up with sustainable way to support them.
The country claims to be on a trajectory of building a knowledge-based economy, and teachers form critical part part of this vision for it to succeeed. But how can they play their critical role when they cannot afford to put food on the table or take their own children to goo schools where quality is guaranteed?
eachers spend all their lives building leaders and a wide range of professionals the country desperately needs to achieve its political and socio-economic goals to propel Rwanda to a middle-income country.
Poor working conditions that the teachers have been subjected to over decades has seen the number of people who enroll for teaching courses significantly reduce.
The Auditor General has severally pointed a finger on the Ministry of Education and its policy implementing agencies for wasteful expenditures. If such expenditures are channelled to teacher’s welfare, they can actually change a lot.
There is an urgent need to review the education policiesto even address gaps that could see thousands of children miss out on quality education.
Education Ministry has had the highest top leadership turnover compared with any other ministry, having had more than six ministers in the past couple of years.
Many of the teachers cannot afford to educate their children in the schools they teach in. To motivate them, the ministry should come up with subsidies on school fees to help feel appreciated. Teachers have become casulaties of the Covid-19, yet the future of our children and the nation at large is in their hands, so it is high time their welfare became a priority in the government's budget.