Officials from Rwanda Education Board (REB) have called on teachers to put in an extra effort to improve their proficiency in English – the country’s language of instruction. They say this will have a trickle-down effect on their students.
The call was made on Wednesday during the launch of the second phase of the countrywide Quality Education Enhancement Awareness Campaign spearheaded by the Ministry of Education with various stakeholders.
In Gakenke District, officials observed a big gap in the use of English language in primary and secondary schools, where pupils and their teachers have a common challenge of not easily expressing themselves in the language though they use it in learning activities.
“The level of communication skills is still low, when it comes to writing people try but many are generally shy when it comes to speaking,” said Emile Abayisenga, the principle for IPRC-Musanze who led the team touring Gakenke District.
The officials acknowledge that this is an issue affecting not only Gakenke District but other schools elsewhere in the country as well.
Some teachers who spoke to The New Times during the ongoing campaign expressed the need for more training as they still face challenges in the use of English language while delivering lessons.
“We are still struggling with English, many of us underwent university studies in French language and we are required to teach in English. As a remedy, we need intensive and regular trainings to improve our English proficiency,” said Epiphanie Mukandutiye, a teacher at GS Nganzo in Gakenke Sector, Gakenke District.
Speaking to The New Times, Dr Irénée Ndayambaje, the director-general of REB, encouraged teachers in schools to take a lead in capacity building.
He said the board is planning to do an assessment from which they will know the required level of intervention.
“We shall continue advocating and supporting continuous professional development courses. Trainings will be well organised and monitored,” said Ndayambaje.
“Failure to meet the minimum requirements after training shall lead to managerial decisions,” he added.
Ndayambaje called upon teachers and students in schools “to practice English language both on and off school compound to be able to improve their level of proficiency.
Recently, the Ministry of Education said university lecturers will have to sit for tests to assess their level of English as it was realised that some of them can hardly express themselves in the language.
The fresh campaign started May 2, and will run for two weeks with an objective of reinforcing awareness of District Education Officers, Sector Education Officers, head teachers and all education stakeholders to address issues that impede quality of education.