As far back as 2013, the Ministry of Education developed the Education Sector Strategic Plan. Among the key features was that Kinyarwanda should be the language of instruction in lower primary schools; from nursery up to Primary Three.
But up to now, schools have failed to implement it and the ministry has shown little interest in making them comply, well, until now.
The Ministry of Education is now taking matters into its own hands to enforce the policy. Most of the schools reluctant to use Kinyarwanda are private. They have elitist misconceptions that English or French are status symbols and Kinyarwanda is for village schools.
Some families have even banished Kinyarwanda from their homes and believe not knowing the language is some form of sophistication.
Studies conducted and adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO show that it was through the mastery of the mother tongue that the basic skills of writing and reading are acquired.
One just needs to look around to realise that most advanced economies teach in their national languages and only take on foreign languages as separate subjects. But it is only in Africa and other former colonies that have stuck to their former masters’ languages, so it is not surprising that there are no scientific terms in local languages.
Parents who look down upon Kinyarwanda first need to liberate their minds and do away with colonial hangovers. Definitely, it is clear that Rwanda Academy of Languages and Culture seems to have a tough road ahead in entrenching our language.
But they need not worry because once Kinyarwanda is adopted as the medium of education at an early age, it has a better chance of surviving and getting back its respect.