At least 40 primary and secondary school teachers have left the country for the United States for a one-month training in the English language.
The teachers, who departed in two batches on Thursday and Friday, are part of a programme jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the University of Hartford, based in Connecticut, USA.
“Out of the 1,000 mentors we have countrywide, only about 300 are Rwandans; so we believe this move will help reduce dependence on foreign mentors,” said Damian Ntaganzwa, the Rwanda Education Board Deputy director general in charge of Teachers Management.
He added that each district had a representative while some were represented by more than one.
Dr John Rutayisire, the director general of Reb, said the programmme was in line with the country’s policy of making English the medium of instruction.
“We embraced English with national interests at heart; for instance, most of the countries Rwanda trades with, be it in Asia, the West, Eastern and Southern Africa have English as a national language, so we did it to ease business,” Rutayisire said
Ntaganzwa added that such things as qualification and experience were considered when selecting the candidates and each of them had to be an English teacher.
“We had about 1,200 applicants but after screening, only 40 qualified,” he said
Candide Ngabire, an English teacher at G.S Mugonero, Nyamashekye District, expressed optimism that the initiative would help improve her English proficiency.
“We will have a chance to interact with educationists who are not only trained in the field, but also speak English as their first language,” Ngabire said.
Pacifique Kamikamuntu, who teaches at Uwagishimbiri Primary School in Karongi District, was excited to be among the chosen.
“I am hopeful that we shall also be able to acquire new English teaching methods or improve on what we currently have,” he said.