Teaching Kinyarwanda in nursery and lower primary will help increase pupils’ brainpower, State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr. Mathias Harebamungu, has said.
According to the Minister, the decision that was passed last week by a cabinet meeting will take effect immediately
The plan is that in nursery and the first three years of primary school; all subjects will be taught in Kinyarwanda apart from English and French which are learnt as lessons.
“Research has shown that children grasp better the concepts taught to them in their mother tongue at an earlier age,” said Harebamungu.
He explained that when a child goes to school and encounters a new environment like learning in language they are not used to, they experience shock which is why the government came up with the decision.
UNESCO studies show that students learn better in their mother tongue.
UNESCO supports mother tongue instruction as a means of improving education quality by building on the knowledge and experience of the learners and teachers.
However, speaking to The New Times yesterday, Paul Nizeyimana, a local businessman was concerned that the regular changes of the programmes in education might affect the children.
“We have seen a number of changes in education in a short space of time and I am worried that they might affect the children,” he said.
However, Harebamungu dismissed all fears, saying that all changes being made are meant to fine tune the education system.
“A change like this (change to Kinyarwanda) will help children master other disciplines better in English when they reach primary four,” he said.
He further noted that the new approach is meant to preserve the Rwandan culture and to ensure that it does not die.
“Many young people currently find it difficult to speak or write Kinyarwanda. This is dangerous for the country.”
He stated that most developed countries in the world have thrived on preserving their mother languages and cultures. He gave examples of China, Japan, and Germany.