Several organisations have set English learning and speaking a priority in Rwanda. It is no doubt that the country’s full transformation into the Anglophone system has caused ripples across the education system as students have to brace themselves for testing in the language.
Those learning English as their third language have the stage set for drama. According to psychologists, people think in their mother tongues and then translate ideas to the second or third language.
Imagine a student thinking in Kinyarwanda, translating information to French and then English!
French and English Grammar are almost direct opposites. A student not good at both English and French may find it taxing to translate ideas from one language to another.
The Government’s intervention in promoting English is an immeasurable contribution to the whole process.
Periodic English training programs have seen a drastic improvement in the now fully Anglophone systems.
The British Council has also made an indelible mark in promoting the teaching and learning of English. Through its free website, teachers and students can access voluminous teaching and learning resources that have been professionally crafted.
How many teachers and students have already benefited from the golden resource, is still unclear. However, all is not lost as good will exists across the teaching and learning fraternity.
The US embassy is also on a rigorous English promotion campaign. A look at their itinerary indicated a very tight schedule for their crew. They plan to cris-cross the country in their campaign.
The campaign involves showing a movie and giving a quiz at the end.
The Ministry of Education is not left behind. It has been at the forefront in promoting English essay writing competitions.
In a bid to raise English to VIP status, an essay writing competition that will challenge students from Senior three to six is organised.
The competition to be held on June 16th 2011, will see the best two writers from each district getting VIP honor by sitting next to His Excellency the President and Her Excellency the First Lady during the Liberation Day Celebrations in July.
Many students are fighting tooth and nail to capture the top positions in their districts in order to get one of the rarest chances of sitting next to the Head of State and getting VIP treatment.
The East African Essay Competition that is currently ongoing is yet another platform that is showcasing students from Rwanda with those in the wider EAC bloc.
Great effort is needed from both students and teachers if greater gains are to be realized.
The enormous resources that have been invested in the education sector by the Government and Non-Governmental Organizations have to translate into real benefits for the whole nation.