EDITORIAL; Broader consultation needed on move to harmonise school fees, bonuses

EDITORIAL; Broader consultation needed on move to harmonise school fees, bonuses
EDITORIAL; Broader consultation needed on move to harmonise school fees, bonuses

Africa-Press – Rwanda. This week’

s news headlines have been dominated by the government’s decision to give a significant pay rise to primary and secondary school teachers, as well as school administrators and support staff.

As expected, the decision has excited teachers and it’s safe to say that it’ll go a long way toward improving the welfare of our educationists and quality of their service.

The idea is to motivate current teachers to remain in their job and stem the high turnover that has been witnessed in the education sector over the years, and to attract qualified people into the teaching profession.

This is part of a raft of new policy interventions and strategies aimed at helping reform the education sector, with a view to improve the quality of education.

Among the other strategies is the move to harmonise school fees across all public and government aided schools and to regulate teacher bonuses that individual schools set, in part to attract and retain qualified teachers.

The Prime Minister told both chambers of parliament earlier this week that the government would set a strict range for bonuses, with education officials later saying this would be done in the coming days, ahead of the next academic year.

This move is partly due to complaints from some parents as a result of some schools’ tendency to increase school fees every now and then, a practice the government had been discouraging.

Now, Rwanda has achieved commendable success in ensuring universal access to basic education, with net enrolment to primary education standing at an impressive 98 per cent by 2018. This makes the country a leader on the continent in this aspect. It also goes a long way toward addressing unequal access to basic education.

Nonetheless, concerns have risen around the decision to harmonise tuition, with some school administrators and teachers questioning its rationale and viability.

There are fears that this – along with restricting teacher bonuses – could end up driving some of the teachers out of the profession, leading to unintended consequences.

If this happened, it would undermine the very purpose for which the government has increased salaries for teachers, and introduced and strengthened other incentives.

To prevent this scenario, there is a need for further consultation, especially with public and government aided schools, to ensure that a reasonable and practical solution is reached

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