Dr. Uwamariya made the revelation on Tuesday 2nd December 2021 as she officially opened the 13th Policy Dialogue Forum of the International Task Force on Teachers.
The centre is expected to provide training for primary, secondary school and universities’ management with a view to equip them with relevant skills to carry their tasks efficiently.
“Responding to the question of teachers requires Governments, International Organizations and civil society members to work in synergy and find adequate solutions for teachers together. In this line, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with partners, is in the process of establishing an African Centre for School Leadership, with the aim of supporting Governments in Africa to build capacity in promoting effective school leadership, for improved quality of teaching, and learning outcomes,” said Dr. Uwamariya.
She explained that teachers also benefit from other training programs polishing their competencies especially in ICT.
Dr. Uwamariya also shared Rwanda’s solutions to address emerging challenges in the education sector where teachers were provided with laptops and equipped with relevant skills to continue assisting students through online classes during COVID-19 pandemic.
Some school leaders have revealed that teachers still need more training programs because they have not yet acquired enough skills.
“Many teachers have not yet acquired enough ICT skills but we are grateful that the Government of Rwanda and other partners have expended much effort in teachers’ training to carry out their jobs smoothly,” said Father Jean Paul Mushimiyimana, the head teacher of teacher Training College (TTC) Zaza.
Figures from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) show that Sub-Saharan Africa alone requires 15 million more teachers to reach the educational goals by 2030 whereby stakeholders need greater investments and innovative approaches to face this issue.
Carlos Vargas-Tamez, Head of Teacher Development at UNESCO’s Task Force for Teachers attributed the gap to two major reasons including meager salary and the nature of teacher’s job.
Carlos Vargas explained that the percentage of national budget allocated to the education sector is still insufficient where it should be between 15 and 20% instead of the current 3 to 6% within all countries.
He revealed that the inadequate budget results into low salaries for teachers and discourages people interested to pursue courses in education.
Teachers play a critical role to advance quality education. However, they need to be provided with an environment that values willingness to take risks and help them improve livelihoods.
Considering their outstanding contribution to the society, the Government of Rwanda has put in place different initiatives to improve their wellbeing, facilitating them to access financial services and salary increment among other social protection programs.
To this end, Rwanda plans to facilitate interested teachers to pursue studies up to Master’s degree with fully paid and non-refundable scholarship.
Among others, the Government has committed to provide half of school fees for students enrolled in Teacher Training Colleges (TTC) after revising existing curriculum.
Students pursuing courses in education at the university will not be required to refund the scholarship as so long as they are serving in the education sector after graduation.
Other incentives for teachers include salary increment to motivate them, improve their wellbeing and subsequently paving the way for quality education.
Since 2019, teachers from secondary and primary schools started receiving 10% annual salary increment. An additional 10 percent was made in 2020.
The increment was also considered in the fiscal year 2021/2022 despite difficult times of COVID-19 the country is going through.
Dr. Uwamariya explained that these incentive programs are expected to attract public’s attention to this profession.
It also goes hand in hand with increasing the number of teachers and reduce students’ overcrowding.
In 2020 academic year, the Government of Rwanda recruited 28,000 teachers and placed more 30,000 in 2021.