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Sunday, March 4, 2012

English language usage comes into full force

English language usage comes into full force
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English language usage comes into full force

This academic year that begins tomorrow January 10, is when the use of English as a medium of instruction will come into full force.

Speaking to The Sunday Times early this week the Minister of Education Dr. Charles Murigande said that everything was set for the programme to be implemented fully.
Some of the arrangements in the last two years have involved a mass campaign to train teachers in the English language.

According to the Executive Secretary of the Teacher Service Commission (TSC) Emmanuel Muvunyi, in 2008, around 3,000 teachers were trained, and in 2009, the first nationwide English language training was held, reaching about 42,000 teachers.

In the recently completed 2010 training, over 45,000 teachers received further training in the language.
Muvunyi says that the teachers are ready for the shift.
“We have teachers who have an Anglophone background or those who have progressed their English language proficiency quite quickly that are ready for the shift,” sad Muvunyi

He however, said that there could be people who still need more training since becoming fluent in another language takes time.

“We encourage all teachers to make use of the English they acquired in training over the last couple of years – as well as the confidence to use the language in their classrooms.”

This massive training has involved a total of 1,035 qualified and experienced teachers of English from Rwanda and the region. Around three quarters of the trainers (745) are from Rwanda, with the remainder (290) coming from the region, mainly Uganda.

Another component has been on ensuring supply of English text books, teacher manuals and updating of the schools curriculum.

Early last year Murigande announced that the Ministry was going to oversee a massive English text books distribution in 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 teachers and students alike,” the minister had said.

Over 1.6 million books were distributed to the schools by publishing companies under a new arrangement in which the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) decentralised the books procurement and supply from the previous monopolistic method and put it on the schools’ level.

In an interview this week, Charles Gahima the director of NCDC said that the books have been sent to all the schools by respective publishers and are all now in English.
“All books being used in Rwanda for teaching purposes presently are in English, and that applies to all levels from primary one to university,” he said.

A number of teachers contacted by The Sunday Times expressed readiness for the switch.

Emmanuel Ngirabega, headmaster of Bwera Primary School in Rwimiyaga Sector in Nyagatare, said: “I convened a meeting with all my teachers and they told me that they were ready for the shift and that the training was helpful”.
Ngirabega, however, said that there was need for continuous trainings if the teachers are to be fully acquainted with the English language.

Jean Pierre Nirere, a Mathematics and Physics teacher at ETGI Secondary School in Gisenyi, Rubavu District, says that the training they received in December last year, was very useful for people like him who studied in the Francophone system. He added that he feels confident to begin teaching in English.

When Contacted, Alex Mugabo, who is waiting for primary six results and has been studying at Ririma Primary School in Bugesera district, said that it is going to be a little difficult for him since he has been studying in French. He, however, added that he was happy that he is now going to study in English though he thinks that his performance will be affected in the beginning.

New Times

Updated on Mar 1, 2011 by Salvatore Desiano (Version 2)

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TSC MUvunyi.bmp - on Mar 1, 2011 by Salvatore Desiano (Version 1)

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