The Ministry of Education will recruit 4,000 teachers to teach in the English language in secondary schools, as part of its strategy to put the country at the same level with its EAC partners of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in creating higher education and job opportunities.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the State Minister-in-charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, said the recruitment will be done in January 2012 to coincide with the new academic year.
The teachers will be recruited from the East African Community countries, but be mainly drawn from Kenya. The exercise will coincide with the establishment of the 12-year basic education programme which begins in January 2012.
Burundi, which is the fifth member of the EAC, is predominantly French speaking
“The ministry will recruit professional teachers in the field of English as a language of instruction and they will be deployed to both private and public schools countrywide,” he said.
Besides teaching the pupils, they will also teach their local counterparts in a “trainer of trainers” arrangement that seeks to have Rwandan teachers speak English fluently as a means of consolidating their competence.
The push to have English adopted as a working language begun in 2008 and its use as a medium of instructions in schools was launched in 2009, in the same year Rwanda joined the Commonwealth, which brings together English speaking nations that were once British colonies.
For many years, Rwanda used only French and Kinyarwanda as its official languages.
Harebamungu said that the teachers will also train Sector Executive Secretaries across the country, and added that the ministry was still working out how much those recruited will be paid.
According to the ministry, 43,000 teachers have so far been trained in the English language. The first batch was trained for three months between November 2009 and January 2010.
The second training session lasted two months between November and December last year.
The two training sessions were conducted by 1,035 trainers, 700 of whom were Rwandans and the rest Ugandans.
Each foreign trainer was paid Rwf 25,000 per day while their Rwandan counterparts received Rwf 20,000.
He said that the teachers will be recruited on a permanent basis and that every public and private school will have at least one teacher assigned to it.
Harebamungu added that those recruited will also organise activities such drama, concerts and debates among students as a way to improving their proficiency in written and spoken English.
Pie Nizeyimana, a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Rubirizi in Kicukiro District, said: “Recruiting the teachers will enable people from a French-speaking background polish their English skills which will improve the quality of education”.