Let’s make English work in 2011

The holiday season is over and every serious person should be in a work-mood by now. Those who had travelled far from their workstations should be back in office or else their jobs may be handed over to more deserving people. Students on holiday should be ready to get back into the expected study mood before it’s too late.

The holiday season is over and every serious person should be in a work-mood by now. Those who had travelled far from their workstations should be back in office or else their jobs may be handed over to more deserving people.

Students on holiday should be ready to get back into the expected study mood before it’s too late. The holiday has been long and no one should be complaining that it has come to an end. After all, it was not an accident. It was meant to happen and come to an end.

The teachers may have reason to argue that they had little to owe to the holiday but, all the same, they have to be ready to get back to work and do a good job. The holiday programme that saw over 50, 000 teachers, in both primary and secondary sections undergoing an intensive English training course, took away most of what was meant to be their holiday.

However, this programme was in good faith and tailored to benefit the teachers by making their life easy as far as conducting lessons in English is concerned. This being the first year in which French is not to be used as a language of instruction at any level of our education system, it is important that all is done to make the English shift a success.

The teachers training should go a long way towards making English use a success in Rwanda. We should not forget that it was not the first and may probably not be the last. Teachers now have no excuse but to do a good job.

The New Times of Tuesday, January 4, 2011,  had a promising news story concerning the Peace Corps. The US ambassador to Rwanda, H.E Stuart Symington welcomed 67 Peace Corps volunteers who are to be posted in several remote schools across the country for a period of two years. 

The Peace Corps volunteers are known world wide for their incredible effort to help countries with labour shortages. this group of volunteers have come at a time when Rwanda really needs their help.

The decision to post them to remote schools is also very commendable since these schools have often been left behind because qualified teachers prefer working in urban schools.

Coming from a different cultural background, the eleven-week induction training they received in Nyanza District should help them deal with the cultural shock they are certain to face while in Rwanda.

Rwanda is going through several reforms in its education sector and having American volunteers is a blessing. The fact that this group was invited back in 2008 by our president is also a sign of his visionary leadership as Tony Blair testified recently.

Students who will be taught by these native English speakers should not only feel lucky but also embrace the chance by paying attention and utilising this opportunity. They should not be afraid of asking for help.

In such a situation, all stakeholders in the education sector should be ready to do their best to see that English language usage takes off effectively. We have to get it right this time if at all this country is to reap from the benefits of changing to English as a language of instruction in schools.

This is a promising year for the English language in Rwanda.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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