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Are Teachers Disregarding their Professional Oaths?

by Williams Buningwire
3:21 pm

Teacher engages students at Kigali Greater Heights School – Ndera sector

“I, ………………………………, Solemnly swear to the Nation to fulfill my educational duties with a dedication to remain loyal to the Republic of Rwanda, to uphold the Constitution and other laws, to commit myself to strengthen unity of Rwandans, to sincerely perform my educational duties without discrimination of whatever kind, never use my educational position for personal motives, to comply with professional ethics of education, to be committed to respect of freedom and basic human rights in general and rights of children in particular and common interests of Rwandans. Shall I fail to honour this oath, may I face the rigours of the law. So help me God”. 

Every teacher signs this oath immediately after taking it, but some do the opposite in class or outside harming the future of students.

Between June and September 2020, thousands of new teachers are expected to take a similar oath of allegiance. They will have a chance to join a professional career in the upcoming mass recruitment to happen for the first time in the education history and are expected to behave in accordance with the ethical requirements to improve the quality of education so as to achieve Knowledge-Based Economy vision by 2024.

 “We have received several complaints from parents, students, and inspectors about the misconduct of teachers. But this should be crystal clear that a teacher is trained to be a parent and an educator, shaping the next generation for a better future. Disregarding teaching ethics is a crime and punishable,” Dr. Irénée Ndayambaje, Director General of Rwanda Education Board said.

“Children can love studying because of a good teacher, but it can also be the opposite. We shall brief new teachers on what is required to add on what they trained in college teachers,”

“The new teachers will take an oath of allegiance according to the teacher’s statute in the official Gazette n° 10 of 16/03/2020 and respect it. Disrespect of oath will mean heavy punishment by law.” Dr. Ndayambaje said.

Teacher at Kazo Primary School in Kamonyi district shows a student what she should have done during school quiz. Mock exams are a much bigger quiz to prepare students to national exams

Last year, teacher’s misconduct was recurrent headlines in the news, allegedly accused of professional misconduct behaviors including assault of students, battery, defilement, student examination malpractice helped by teachers, among others.   

For example, in September, two teachers of Ecole Primaire Catholique Cyumba in Jali Sector, Gasabo District, Kigali city were arrested by police for allegedly assaulting and battering two pupils.

Christine Mukaremera, 29, and Theoneste Niyonshima, 37 were detained at Gatsata police station for allegedly punching Primary Six pupil Eric Iradukunda for “disrespecting” him.

In the same tragic circumstance, Mukaremera was also accused of seriously assaulting a 10-year old Primary Five pupil at the same school.

It was alleged that on September 11, at about 11 am, Mukaremera slapped Divine Irakoze repeatedly on the face. Irakoze, who was crying and pleading for mercy, bit his tongue in the process.

 Both teachers committed an offence, according to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Marie-Gorrette Umutesi, Police spokesperson for the City of Kigali.

“Disciplining a child is different from assaulting, the latter is a crime punishable under article 121 of the penal code,” 

“Any person who willfully injuries, beats, or commits any serious violence to a person, commits an offense.” CIP Umutesi said then.

Rukara College of education which graduates teachers

On 12 October last year, Emmanuel Musabyimana, a teacher of Gasagara primary and secondary school In Gisagara district, Southern province was arrested by police for allegedly defiling 15-year-old students.

CIP Twajamahoro Sylvestre, Southern province police spokesperson said that investigations were being conducted on the allegations.

In the same week, police arrested Bimenyimana Emmanuel 32 and Muhawenimana Joseph 28 for also allegedly defiling two school dropouts.

The duo (Bimenyimana and Muhawenimana) were caught red-handed with dropouts in teachers’ quarters.

Rukara College of education which graduates teachers

 CIP Twajamahoro said the duo was arrested after parents reported the case to the police.

“One of the defiled girls is 17 years old and she had spent two days at the teacher’s home the other one is 19.” CIP Twajamahoro said.

In october last year, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) also arrested a Nigerian lecturer at the University of Rwanda (UR) after he was allegedly caught red-handed sleeping with a 15-year-old teen in Nyagatare district, Eastern Province.

According to teachers’ statutes in the official Gazette n° 10 of 16/03/2020, a teacher is suspended from duties by a direct supervisor or sector education officer (SEC) if he or she is provisionally detained for the period exceeding fifteen days and the salary retained.

If the teacher is acquitted or found innocent of the disciplinary fault, he or she receives the salary retained for him or her. If that teacher is convicted or sanctioned for a disciplinary fault and detained for the period over six months she or he loses the job. 

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