English as the official medium of instruction in Rwandan schools, government institutions and the private sector came to light in 2008.
During a cabinet meeting on October 8, 2008 President Paul Kagame endorsed a directive instructing the Ministry of Education to ensure that all government schools started teaching in English. Public institutions too, had to follow suit.
As a result, a number of intense changes took place in the education sector, which had to be effective by 2011. All education institutions from nursery schools to universities are now using the English language as the medium of instruction.
This came as a blow to the already well established Francophone system of doing things in schools, government offices, and businesses. English learning centres were set in place and learning English became the cool thing to do.
In Rwanda today, English is referred to as the language of prosperity thanks to the booming trade between the countries in the East African Community, to which Rwanda and Burundi became party to on July 1, 2007.
The use of English as a medium of instruction has nothing to do with expelling the French language; it has always been part of Rwanda’s bigger picture of successfully integrating and networking with the rest of the world as a means of fostering economic growth and development.
Using English as a medium of communication has therefore cemented Rwanda’s presence in the region and the globe in terms of economic trade, international relations, health programmes, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), tourism and the list goes on…