Language use in the educational system of Rwanda: a case study of Kiswahili in secondary schools.

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University of Dar es Salaam
The currency language policy in the educational system of Rwanda seems to have a great determination to English. There is a limit use of other foreign language in education, especially Kiswahili language. This is contradictory to the current situation: the integration of Rwanda in the EAC where Kiswahili is a lingua franca; agreement between Rwandese government and EAC about the support of Kiswahili, the borderlessness of Kiswahili in EAC and its high demand in social economic and political domains. These factors create the needed to develop Kiswahili in Rwanda. The problem is the gap between government policies about the use of Kiswahili language in Rwandese society and the government desire of integrating into the EAC and participating actively in different activities supporting the development of Kiswahili in our region. The objective of this research is to find out different factors that determine the trend and problems of Kiswahili in Rwandese society through secondary schools- It explores four main points: First, factors that prevent educational policy makers from giving Kiswahili its status as subject matter in secondary schools; second, the role of Kiswahili in the process of national development in Rwanda, third, the attitudes towards Kiswahili in secondary schools, and last, the strategies that can be used to develop and promote that language in Rwanda. The need for collecting reliable data on which to base Kiswahili use in Rwandese society was my major justification for carrying out survey in 40 secondary schools dispersed in the whole national territory. Questionnaire, interview schedule, and group discussion were my main methods used to collect data and information from my population. The researcher also referred to the documentary review to complete and analyse data. The structure of the research instruments, the specific objectives and the collected data harmonised with the Sociolinguistic Analysis Method as elaborated by Fishman (1972), Ferguson (1979), Heller (2001) and Comas (2002) Critical Language Policy (CLP) framework as it is elaborated by Tollefsan (2006) goes nicely with that analysis method. Both were used to present and analyse the data. In the light of findings, the main factors that hinder the use of Kiswahili in educational system are related to the high support of English and the marginalization of Kiswahili in the vital sectors of the national life. Fortunately, the role of Kiswahili in the national development makes it resistant to those factors. The integration of Rwanda in the EAC, the high potentiality of Kiswahili in development in our region and its power in commercial and other social business make stakeholders and policy makers to accept its importance. However: it is not considered as in an urgent issue in education. English first and Kiswahili will come after satisfying all English needs. In general, Rwandese have a positive attitude to learn Kiswahili alongside English. The best way for strengthening and promote that language is to teach it in the educational system of Rwanda, starting by secondary schools.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF PL8701.R95N72)
Swahili language, Secondary schools, Education system, Rwanda
Ntawigira, P. (2011). Language use in the educational system of Rwanda: a case study of Kiswahili in secondary schools. Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam.