Senators have called on the Government to review the remuneration of teachers to reflect the prevailing economic trends and address discrepancies in public sector wages.
The Senatorial Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions made the call yesterday during a meeting with Isaac Munyakazi, the Minister of State in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education on the progress in Government's implementation of competency-based curriculum.
Senator Narcisse Musabeyezu said that, while in the past, teachers used to earn a higher wage than other civil servants [who held the same level of qualification], over the years they significantly fell down the pecking order.
Speaking to The New Times, the Secretary General of National Union of Teachers in Rwanda (SNER), Faustin Harelimana also raised concern over poor pay in public schools.
A freshly recruited teacher who holds a secondary school certificate earns Rwf44,000 per month, a diploma holder Rwf90,000, while a bachelor's degree holder earns Rwf120,000.
The National Union of Teachers in Rwanda says the amount is not adequate enough to cater for the teacher's basic needs. They estimate teacher's basic needs to cost Rwf150,000 per month.
Teachers are demanding for Rwf80,000 as a minimum salary for a freshly recruited teacher holding a secondary school certificate.
"There should be ways to match the teacher's salary with that of other public servants," Harelimana said. .
Senator Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo said that the education sector should get a higher budget allocation in order to improve various aspects, including classrooms, academic materials, and ICT.
"People should understand that teachers, from nursery school to the university, are instrumental," he said.
Minister Munyakazi said that the education ministry and that of public service and labour were in talks to address the issues affecting teachers.
"As a government, we realise that there is a problem," Munyakazi admitted.
Statistics from Rwanda Education Board show education is the sector with the highest turnover.
Educationists say there is need for new strategies to retain teachers.
Harelimana said that one of the strategies to motivate teachers is to facilitate their children have access to free education from nursery to any advanced level of education.
Another proposal he put forward is to set up a teachers' shop where teachers can access subsidised merchandise.