Teachers Salaries Should be Increased!
With no electricity, entertainment, and other things associated with modern life found in towns and cities, hordes of teachers from rural areas were flocking to towns enmasse.
Concerned with the results, this year government introduced an incentive called ‘Rural Hardship Allowance’, pegged at five thousand kwacha per month.
But it appears that the allowance has brought more harm than good, with some teachers, particularly those in urban areas, crying foul for being left out.
Another anomaly, according to some teachers, is that teachers at adjacent schools in the same locality are being treated differently: some are benefiting from the allowance, while others are not.
And according to Link for Education (LEG), the only remedy to the predicament is to increase salaries for all qualified teachers, regardless of whether they are living in town or not.
Mr. Andrew Ussi is LEG Director of Policy Research.
'We believe that salaries of all qualified teachers in the country should be increased by, maybe 15%-20%, says Mr. Ussi, adding that unless this was done, scabbles over the rural hardship allowance will continue.
Mr. Ussi says the government once introduced a top-up salary for the country’s doctors and nurses, to avoid brain drain.
But Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. Wictor Sajeni, says increasing salaries for teachers is not the solution to the problem.
Mr. Sajeni says, 'Teachers in urban areas should be patient-- the government will work out something for them in future. The idea of introducing the allowance was to entice teachers to remain in rural areas.'
As debate on the introduction of the Rural Hardship Allowance rages on, the question still remains: Who should benefit from the allowance?