International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Rationale behind Mother Tongue Policy in the Rwandan Competency-Based School Curriculum: A Move in the Right Direction
Dr Eugene Ndabaga, Dr Cyprien Tabaro

More than a half of Rwandan adults are illiterate while most Rwandans have a little knowledge in French and English; languages in which Rwandan children are forced to do formal learning despite that they all share one language, Kinyarwanda-the mother tongue. The UNESCO (1977) reaction to this formidable situation was that every child should begin education in his/her mother tongue. Mackenzie and Walker (2013) highlighted the importance of following a curriculum designed in the mother-tongue as literacy is concerned asserting that a curriculum rooted in the child`s known language, culture and environment, with appropriate and locallydeveloped reading and curriculum materials, is crucial for early learning success. Since 2009, Rwandans are taught in English while they cannot express in it easily as oral fluency is concerned and the government intend to implement a competence-based curriculum. How shall this be successfully when learners cannot express themselves in English? This paper highlights the importance of the mother-tongue policy in a country like Rwanda where people share one language if well implemented.

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