Africa-Press – Rwanda. Senators have urged the Ministry of Education to allocate more hours for Kinyarwanda lessons in schools to help preserve and promote the language.
This happened early this week during a presentation of Government activities in basic education under the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) to both Chambers of Parliament.
Among issues tabled, was that Kinyarwanda language could go extinct.
Senator Emmanuel Havugimana called for more efforts in speaking Kinyarwanda accurately, condemning those who speak and write the language incorrectly.
“I hear a lot of people speaking Kinyarwanda in a wrong way and those are educated people that should be giving Kinyarwanda value, and should be influencing people to speak Kinyarwanda perfectly with no errors. The Ministry of Education should look into this and ensure that children learn Kinyarwanda too,” he said.
Jean-Baptiste Manirakiza, director of the Language Centre at Kigali Independent University, recommended Kinyarwanda to be taught not only in primary and secondary schools, but also in universities.
“Factors that contribute to the growth of the language are many, for example, many people have a mind-set of believing that speaking Kinyarwanda is very cheap and uncivilised. If the mind-set is changed, that can grow our language and give it value,” he said.
Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said there is a need to balance all languages in schools, explaining that children can continue learning in English as it is an international language in education, but also that Kinyarwanda should be taught in schools a lot and perfectly.
“There have been great results from learning in English in schools, but it doesn’t mean that Kinyarwanda should be excluded in schools, we should monitor and make sure that Kinyarwanda is still taught in schools and also ensure that children learn it in an effective way,” he said.
Role of parents
Jerome Kajuga, Director of Culture, Social and Human Sciences at Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO, said that to ensure that Kinyarwanda doesn’t go extinct, it is up to every Rwandan to promote the language.
“The biggest efforts come from the root, and that is the family. Parents are the ones that determine if their children will speak Kinyarwanda, write it well and use it well and that only comes from how they value Kinyarwanda at home and the efforts they make,” he said.
He also pointed towards schools, noting that if Kinyarwanda as a lesson is given more hours, taught well and teachers make an effort in letting students understand how their language is important, that way, there will be no student writing or spelling Kinyarwanda in a wrong way.
Kajuga also called upon journalists saying that they have a role to play seeing that they reach a bigger audience and have influence.
“The more they are eager to use Kinyarwanda and ensure they use it well, the more people will understand that other languages are not superior to Kinyarwanda.”
He recommends school officials to find ways for all languages to be taught without excluding or obliging children not to speak Kinyarwanda.
Kinyarwanda is the national language of Rwanda and the first language of almost the entire population of the country. It is one of the country’s official languages alongside French, English, and Swahili.