Education Ministry Clears Air on English as Medium of Instruction in Primary School

Ministry of education has ‘cleared the air’ about the long standing disagreement on using Kinyarwanda as a medium of instruction in lower primary, replacing it with English.

The policy of using Kinyarwanda language as a medium of instruction in lower primary school came into force in 2015. In a bid to implement a system dubbed ‘competency-based curriculum’.

This system required schools public and private in the country to teach other languages as subjects and Kinyarwanda as a medium of instruction.

The four year old directive was resisted by private schools that initially used foreign languages as medium instruction in lower primary.

English language has replaced Kinyarwanda as a medium of instruction in the lower primary schools. According to the new communiqué’ released by ministry of education on Thursday.

The new directive instructs all public and private schools to make a transition to English as the language of instruction throughout lower primar.

The new directive also allowed private schools to continue teaching English and French as medium of instruction in lower primary in their respective schools.

“All the private schools that were previously using English or French, as a medium of instruction at lower primary school are allowed to continue teaching in these languages,” the communiqué reads.

According to the communiqué from the ministry of education, Kinyarwanda language will be taught as a mandatory subject in lower public and government aided primary schools.

The communiqué does not say when the new system will be implemented by schools.

“All public and government aided schools currently using Kinyarwanda as a medium of instruction at lower primary schools will gradually make transition to using English as a medium of instruction, within a determined period to be communicated by the ministry of education,” the communiqué says.

This transition from Kinyarwanda to English, has been welcomed by the public, with some parents saying that English language will benefit pupils and open them to better chances in the future in terms of competing on the world labour market.

“Kinyarwanda will be spoken at home. But English and French opens up a child’s future. I think this is now a better decision from the ministry of education,” Apholodis Nsengiyumva said.

Charles Mutazihana, head teacher of Kigali parents’ primary school said, “We are grateful for this decision. It prepares children for the global competition in academics.”

“Kinyarwanda will be taught as a subject as usual which is equally important. In our school we teach it and children speak it. So teaching them another international language makes sense for their future”Mutazihana said.

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