New Kinyarwanda–English dictionary published and Rwandan government continue recruitment drive for English language teachers
Since 2008, Rwandan schools have chosen English over French as one of the official teaching languages – alongside Kinyarwanda – and with this transition comes the need for further pedagogical resources. The new Kinyarwanda–English dictionary has therefore been a welcome addition to the linguistic arena, along with the Rwandan government’s recruitment drive for more English language teachers.
Such is the significance of the dictionary, that October’s launch event in Kigali boasted attendance by various government officials, including the Minister of Education for Rwanda, and the Ugandan Minister of Education and Sports. (Uganda is currently assisting the Rwandan government with teacher training programs following the latter’s call for more English language teachers). The dictionary was written by Professor Geoffrey Rugege, linguist and current Executive Director of the Higher Education Council for Rwanda, who was inspired to produce the dictionary by his children’s desire to ‘identify with their roots’ through learning the Kinyarwanda language. The dictionary includes ‘pure Kinyarwanda words, loan blends and coinages’ and it was announced at the launch that there are also plans to publish a Kinyarwanda/English/Swahili online dictionary in the future.
There has also been a recruitment campaign for English language teachers to work in Rwanda following the country’s switch from French to English as one of the official languages used in schools. There are thought to be up to 1,000 jobs available both in primary and secondary schools, and also in the International Languages and Management Institute (ILMI) – the government-backed centre set up in 2009 to provide English language teaching services to a broad client base. Newvision.com reports that the official switch to English (added as a teaching medium in Rwanda in 1994) has only taken place in the education system and that French is still an option on the curriculum.