A number of teachers in private schools are crying foul after Umwarimu SACCO fined them with payment penalties on the loans that they acquired from the bank before their contracts are suspended during COVID-19 interruptions.
The Teachers’ Union of Private Schools (Syneduc) concern comes after the bank announced the penalties and charged them with fines yet a number of them their contracts have been suspended and salaries dropped due to the Covid-19 pandemic interruptions.
According to Jean Bosco Mbonabucya, the Director of the Teachers’ Union of Private Schools(Syneduc) said teachers in private schools have a serious problem with the loans they took which continued generating unpaid interests and fines after long periods of time without being given a salary.
He called this 'a serious problem' because after teachers took loans from Umwalimu SACCO, Covid-19 immediately hit and forced the closure of many schools and the suspension of their contracts which affected especially teachers in private schools.
He calls the responsible agencies to give incentives to teachers in private schools like those of their counterparts in public institutions.
"This issue is unique for teachers in private institutions only because teachers in public institutions continued to be paid and thus repaid their loans without late fines," he said.
Jean Bosco Bodouie, a teacher at the Kigali Authentic International Academy is one of the borrowers whose contract was suspended after the Covid-19 struck. He says, he was left in the situation of bankruptcy after his contract is suspended "but I was surprised to see letters asking me to renew the loan contract," he said.
Responding to this issue, Minister of Education, Dr. Valantine Uwamariya, said they will work with Umwalimu SACCO to see how those teachers are going to be facilitated.
“We will work with Umwalimu SACCO and their association to see how they can be helped." Dr. Valentine Uwamariya adds.
Despite this problem, the Teachers’ Union of Private Schools (Syneduc) has tried its best to help some of the teachers during the lockdown in 2020 where 292 teachers whose contracts were suspended were helped to get the food worth Rwf13 million.
The teachers Union of Private Schools has helped more than 400 teachers who were unable to leave their schools during a sudden lockdown caused by COVID-19 as they were not yet given their salaries in addition to the 292 others who were helped to get the food worth 13 million.