Rwanda on Monday joined the world to mark World Teachers Day 2020, with President Paul Kagame leading the efforts to appreciate teachers in a tweet posted on Monday morning
“Today is #WorldTeachersDay, let’s take a moment to appreciate our teachers, especially in this challenging time. Students and parents recognise your indispensable service, now more than ever. Let’s work together to reopen our classrooms safely and get back to learning,” President Kagame tweeted.
On the day to celebrate educators, teachers in Rwanda have asked the government to avail the remaining pledge of Rwf11billion towards their savings and credit scheme Umwarimu SACCO, as part of the initiative that was established by President Paul Kagame to improve the welfare of teachers in 2006.
The national teachers’ representative asked the government to pay the remaining pledge (Rwf11billion) during the teachers’ day celebrations on 5th October 2020.
Since the licensing of Umwarimu Sacco in 2008 by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) to operate as a financial institution offering different financial services to teachers, the government has supported the initiative by investing Rwf19billion out of the total pledge of Rwf30billion.
“Teachers are doing everything possible for development and shaping the future generation but they need further motivation. Today, the maximum teacher’s loan per teacher in Umwarimu Sacco is Rwf5million,”
“But we ask the government to pay the remaining balance to increase capital in the initiative and increase maximum teacher’s loan to at least Rwf10million,” Dorothy Dukuzimana, a teacher’s representative said.
She added that “Getting a loan depends on the capacity of a teacher to pay, but more money in the Sacco is needed to cater for the big number of lenders.”
Today, Umwarimu Sacco has 30 branches, one in each district, and has grown in terms of equity and members with a total number of about 78,333 active accounts. Members have easy access to their accounts at all branches of Umwalimu SACCO and Umurenge SACCOs through interface technology.
It (Umwalimu SACCO) engages in two principal activities which include managing members’ savings from their monthly deductions of 5% of the member’s net salary through a check-off system and these savings are made as compulsory savings and serve as guarantee when giving loans to members.
Other than the previous year’s celebrations, this year’s theme is “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future”. The celebrations were marked virtually this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
To mark the event celebrations, since 1994, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) has been celebrating World Teachers’ Day on the fifth day of October every year.
In Rwanda, the celebrations took place but were held on the national television due to New Coronavirus restrictions.
The celebrations aim at setting standards for teachers’ rights, their initial preparation, and further education, teacher recruitment, employment policies, teaching-learning conditions, among others.
“Our teachers are doing a great thing to shape decent citizens and children’s future. However, they still have challenges,”
“We know teaching is not an easy job. But we shall do everything possible to add the Umwarimu Sacco pledged amount in the coming national budgets,” Dr. Valentine Uwamariya, the Minister of Education, said.
Dr Uwamariya said that the government will continue improving teacher’s welfare by constructing teacher’s quarters, continue giving loans in the Umwarimu Sacco and Girinka mwarimu programs.
She said that there are many efforts needed in improving the quality of education, pointing out that more classrooms will be built and teachers recruited. The 10% salary increment will be availed, but teachers should be patient.
“This academic year, over 28, 000 teachers will be recruited. This means more salaries. The education sector budget seems bigger than in other sectors. But this big-budget goes to many people,”
“The education sector employs 65% of employees of the total civil servants; this means other sectors employ only 35%. This is why we have a bigger budget; it is shared by many teachers and other expenses,” She added.
“The teacher’s salaries are still wanting because the budget is shared by many.” she added.
Like previous annual teacher’s day celebrations, 25 best teachers have been awarded by the ministry of education. Teachers were awarded certificates, tablets, motorcycles, and television screens.
At the national level, Umutesi Christine, a primary teacher at Nyarugenge primary and secondary school in Kigali city, and Albert Sinamenye, a secondary teacher at Rukomo secondary school in Nyagatare district, eastern province were awarded Motorcycles, Tablets, and certificates.
The other 23 teachers were awarded tablets, certificates, and television screens.
“I am pleased; my efforts have been recognised through the awards I have got. I made a periscope to make sure that my students study well in physics. I teach them theory, but I am supposed to make sure that they understand what has been taught practically,” Sinamenye said.
“The basis is teaching every child as your own, giving children the best skills to help them to stand out academically and in life. During the lockdown, I made sure that students study online. I created a WhatsApp group of children’s parents and sent them notice and exercises,”
Sinamenye added that “I asked parents to give those assignments to their children and make sure they had and submitted for marking daily.”