Teachers have reacted to the move by the government to increase their salaries saying that this will significantly improve their welfare, but called for more efforts to uplift the quality of education.
The salary increase, which was announced by the Prime Minister, will affect teachers in pre-primary, primary and high school, with the biggest beneficiaries earning up to 88 percent pay rise.
On Tuesday, August 2, The New Times had various interviews with education professionals from across the country, who shared their reactions to the move and how they expect it to impact their lives and work.
Jean Damascene Nzamurambaho, a former government school teacher now working as a mentor for teachers praised the move, but noted that there are more issues to be dealt with in the education sector.
“It will improve the teachers’ financial and social status…but there are a number of things that our leaders need to deal with in the education system. For example, our teachers need to be empowered with more knowledge in the subjects that they are teaching.
“In addition, they need support to improve their level of English proficiency because there are challenges in this area. There is also a need to equip them with basic ICT skills in order to be able to use such techniques in their work,” he added.
Venantie Nyirahirwa, a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Cyarwa, Huye District said it is a motivation for them to work even harder.
“Even before this we were working hard, because this profession is our calling. The increase is an incentive for us to do even more,” she said.
“It came as a surprise. We were not expecting it, so we are very happy. It is going to make an impact in our lives. Sometimes, a teacher would only manage to buy rice and fail to get cooking oil or charcoal. Now, we will have money to buy rice, charcoal, cooking oil and more. In short, life will improve. We are going to work hard to make sure that our lives improve, and our status improves as well,” she added.
Esperance Nzamurera, the head teacher at Groupe Scolaire Burema Nyarugenge District noted that the salary increment was much needed, considering the state of commodity prices on the market.
“It actually looked like the teacher had been abandoned, but it is so pleasant that the government has taken this decision,” she said.
“We are aware that the government cares for us and follows up on us closely. We believe that our leaders will continue addressing outstanding issues to boost the education sector,” she added.
Vincent Sengiyumva, a teacher, at Groupe Scolaire Kora Catholique in Nyabihu District said:
“For a long time we had asked for this, but were often told that the resources are not yet available, and we could see it as well. Now that the salaries have been raised, we are thankful to the government for thinking about us,” he said.
He noted that they had waited patiently, but lately, the commodity prices had become very challenging for them.
For David Kagina, the head teacher at Ecole Secondary Kamubyeyi, Kamonyi District said they are already expecting better output from teachers.
“Teachers love their work, but sometimes it is difficult for them due to limited resources. I talked to some and they told me they were very happy, saying they will repay the President by making sure that the students pass their exams well,” he said.
Francois-Xavier Sibomana, a private school teacher at Mary Hill Girls Secondary School, Nyagatare said the move may influence private schools to increase salaries for their employees.
“This is a good step that the government has taken, and I think it will also affect private schools. For example, in the past, when the boss of our school heard about the government’s 10 percent salary increase for teachers earlier on, he also made some changes in our salaries,” he said.
“Even now, I think he will try to adjust in regards to the new changes. This is because, if he does not, he risks having his teachers leave for government schools,” he added.