The Ministry of Education maintains that there won’t be any compromise with nursery and primary schools that do not comply with the policy of using Kinyarwanda language as a medium of instruction.
As per the competency-based curriculum that came into effect in 2015, the language of learning in pre-primary and lower primary is Kinyarwanda while other languages are taught as subjects.
Research by United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has revealed that using the learners’ mother tongue is crucial to effective learning.
Nevertheless, during a recent session with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, ICT, Culture, and Youth, the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) voiced concerns that there are schools that have not yet abided by the policy.
Speaking to The New Times, Minister of State in charge of primary and secondary education, Isaac Munyakazi, said that there won’t be compromise with these schools.
He said: “This policy is included in our new curriculum; therefore, every school that follows our curriculum must abide by it. We won’t compromise or tolerate schools that don’t comply with this policy.”
Munyakazi went on to highlight that international schools are the only ones that are not subject to this policy.
“For international private schools, they are not subject to this policy. But there are things we negotiated with them concerning promoting the Kinyarwanda language, among which is including Kinyarwanda language in their subjects, and many of them have done that,” he noted.
Munyakazi emphasised that parents should also be part of the move to promote Kinyarwanda language, noting that as of now many of them do the contrary.
“In many cases you find that parents are ashamed when their children speak Kinyarwanda at a young-age, but feel proud when they hear them speak other languages. Parents should help us promote our language, especially among young children, because they grow up knowing it.”
Minister Munyakazi explained that this does not mean that other languages shouldn’t be taught but that this is a move to emphasise acquaintance with the mother tongue.
So far, there are no specific punishments given to schools that defy this policy other than continuous sensitisation.
The call to promote Kinyarwanda language has also been recently echoed by President Paul Kagame while addressing the youth who completed the twelfth edition of Indangamirwa series of civic education programme, Itorero, in August 2019, where he urged them to learn Kinyarwanda.