Enhancing Citizens Capability to Compete Globally: Rwanda’s Formal Language and Education Policy and Its Implications for Development
Joseph Kweku Assan, Lawrence Walker

The paper provides a reflective analysis of the move to establish English as the main medium of instruction in schools and addresses the role of language and education in the overall development processes in Rwanda. Primary data collection involved interviews with members of the society, education community (state department, staff of primary and secondary schools and universities) and civil society in Rwanda. We argue that the linguistic realities of globalisation represented through the spread of English and the growing wealth of knowledge and intellectual capital through formal education has far reaching consequences for Rwanda as she attempts to spread and sustain its economic and social development within and across her borders. The introduction of English as the formal national language is seen as a form of empowerment and a mechanism towards the enhancement of the global competitiveness of its populace. Also, the introduction of the new language policy has resulted in a new perception of the national educational system and an emergence of private-public partnership in primary education. The paper makes the case for the need to modify the language policy to encourage further public-private partnerships in primary education. Emphasise should be placed on the effective delivery of the formal curriculum in a way that will allow the use of English to add value to the quality of basic and tertiary education. It is important to educate the populace of the value of multilingualism so as to encourage parents and students to embrace the new policy.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v7n1a5