Govt pledges to boost teachers SaccoLeave a comment / By: manifel / 08 October, 2020 08:28:53AM
The ministry of education has pledged to increase the capacity of Umwalimu Sacco to lend to teachers and improve their welfare.
This was announced by Valentine Uwamariya, the Minister of Education, on Monday, October 5, as the world marked World Teachers Day.
Improving the welfare of teachers will go a long way in boosting the quality of education offered in the country.
Teachers, particularly private teachers, are arguably the professionals that have been hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic following the temporary closure of schools in an attempt to deal with the virus spread.
Thus, increasing Sacco's ability to lend money to its members would help teachers during times of adversity.
Yet, the teacher’s savings and credits cooperative continues to grapple with financial constraints, undermining its ability to execute its mandate.
The minister said that Umwalimu Sacco faces a budget deficit of Rwf11 billion.
“Initially, we had the plans to inject Rwf30 billion but only Rwf19 billion was provided leaving a gap of a total of Rwf11 billion” said minister Uwamariya.
This, she said, is one of the reasons why teachers continue to raise complaints about the inability to access their savings and loans, promising to intervene and bridge the budget deficit.
“We know about this, and of course we are looking to cover that gap because we understand that teachers are facing difficult times,”
However, Etienne Havugimana, the head teacher at Busuku Primary School which is located in Rutsiro, argues that “poor pay” is the main reason why most teachers don’t access loans from their Sacco.
Havugimana explained that the cooperative offers loans to teachers based on their salary at relatively lower interest of 11 per cent- compared to loans from commercial banks where interest rates oscillate between 14 and 20 per cent.
Currently, he illustrated, a freshly recruited primary school teacher earns Rwf39,000 a month.
“This is not enough to support his family in terms of accommodation, transport among other basic needs,” he said.
Umwalimu Sacco can only lend money to a teacher 10 times their salary without asking for collateral.
“If I get a loan and they are deducting say Rwf15,000, this means that I will remain with less than Rwf25,000 which can’t sustain all my basic needs including meals,” Havugimana reiterated.
According to Tharcisse Maniragaba, a teacher at Ecole des Science Byimana, the Covid-19 pandemic has largely affected teacher’s welfare and thus adding impetus to the Sacco is a timely initiative.
“Increasing the capacity of teacher’s Sacco would enable most of them to easily access loans,” said Maniragaba.
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