Regardless of the political connotations, Rwandan education experts are in full support of cabinet’s decision to adopt English as Rwanda’s medium of instruction in the Education sector.
“Because of the unique nature of the country’s political theorists, the decision could be differently interpreted by politicians but as education experts, we support government programmes in tourism promotion and creating an ICT hub in the region. If we want to achieve this objective in this region, we must produce labour that equally competes with our rivals in the region,” John Rutayisire, Director General Rwanda National Examinations Council (RNEC), told The New Times.
Rutayisire said that English is needed both as a communication as well as development tool. He said that it would help students attain similar advantages in the East African job market as those from the established members of the regional block.
According to him, Rwanda’s entry into the East African Community now ensures that products in the education system here, which hitherto had been in French, compete with those from the established three members.
As a result, one of the hot issues under debate in the EAC-Commom Market union negotiations currently underway are fears by some member countries that the free movement of labour will favour mainly Kenyans and Ugandans.
Commenting on the issue, Rutayisire said: “We shall emphasize to our students to learn all languages including Swahili. We are now calling for the support of teachers and parents because education reforms are part and partial of the rebuilding process we are undergoing to catch up with our competitors in the region.”
English is expected to open a wider market and opportunities for skilled labour.