Education Minister Dr. Charles Murigande early this week told the media that mastering English is a way to bridge the international isolation that many Rwandans suffered.
“The main objective of English as a medium of instruction is to set free Rwandans to pursue a long-term process of trans-local connectivity that is both economic and educational,” Murigande said.
This 2011 academic year is when the use of English as a medium of instruction came into full force. This means that no single school across the country will use French as a language of instruction. The Ministry of Education has been for the last two years, involved in a mass campaign to train teachers in English language.
“Close to 50,000 teachers participated in trainings and basing on the assessment done by TSC we found out that they have improved on methodology which we dwelt much of learner centered approach. By 2011we intend to carry out an English assessment test which will be measured on international standards,” said Emmanuel Muvunyi, the Executive Director of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
This is an effort to facilitate Rwandans to become part of the global economic community.
“We expect a positive impact on students this academic year since many teachers participated in the trainings,” Muvunyi said.
Through ensuring the supply of English text books, teacher manuals and updating the school curriculum by the Ministry of Education, a lot of progress was registered in several schools around the country.
“When the government made English the language of instruction in schools, there were very few books written in English that could be used by the teachers and students alike,” the Education minister said adding that, “the massive books’ distribution would bring the scarcity of reading and teaching materials to an end.”
Reports from the Education Ministry indicate that over 1.6 million books were directly distributed to the schools. Teachers have been sent back to school as part of the Government’s drive to switch to English as the routine language of instruction for school children.
Additionally, research findings indicate that English is spoken by one out of every six people in the world. Rwanda’s preference for English is more economical than social or political.
When you look at the importance of English for International Business, you must look at more than just the number of people who speak it. English is the ideal language for many governments around the world, and it is also prominent in business, education, world news and communication.
Rwanda switching to English is a “logical choice” given where Rwandans do business. Now, 15 months after the switch to English was announced in October 2008, many pupils appear to have taken to vigorously using the language.