As schools reopened their doors to students this year, the Government had a New Year gift to all the students in public schools – 4000 new teachers of English.
The recruitment that was done on a government-to-government basis will see the number of qualified and experienced government teachers upped in a move to bolster the now fully installed Anglophone system of education in Rwanda.
For the first time, last year, all candidates wrote their national examinations in English. This move presented both the students and teachers with a compelling reality of the system.
The move by the government is a big statement of its resolve not to backtrack on the full implementation and institution of the Anglophone system.
Further, it also demonstrates the Rwandan Government’s determination to not lay back and let private schools with high exorbitant fees, to continue exploiting students who desire to learn the English language.
Since the inception of the Anglophone system, private consulting companies have made a fortune from the government and the individual English language students in costs of learning the language.
It cannot go without saying that some other unqualified individuals speaking English have also benefited by posing as language experts.
Boosting the language staff is in itself a move that allows schools to perform their rightful roles to the fullest without any external reliance. Students should not pay more in private schools when they can learn free of charge in government schools.
However, this does not rule out extended learning out of schools.
Last year, the government did not have the English language-training programme for teachers as it did in 2009 and 2010. While it is not clear on the reasons for change of strategy on the part of the government, it is worthy to note that having permanent qualified staff at the schools will yield more in the short and long term.
Teaching staff that are not fully proficient in English language and are teaching in English are also set to benefit from the new teachers on expatriate terms.
As it were, while challenges may not be absent, having a team of proficient teachers will boost the Education system in Rwanda.
The author is the Director of Studies at Nu Vision High School, Kabuga.