Rwanda discards use of Kinyarwanda in lower primary schools, embraces English

Wednesday December 4 2019


By The Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTZ

Dar es Salaam.  Rwanda has passed a new policy instructing all public and private schools to use English as the language of instruction throughout primary school.

According to the local daily New Times, the policy will come into effect at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.

The country’s education ministry said Kinyarwanda would be used to promote cultural identity.

Since 2015, the use of Kinyarwanda in lower primary school came into force as part of the competency-based curriculum that required schools – public and private – to teach other languages as subjects.

In the latest development, the ministry said Kinyarwanda would now be strengthened to promote the country’s culture.

"All schools are required to strengthen teaching Kinyarwanda to promote Rwandan cultural values, and teaching of (the) French language to promote trilingual for global competitiveness.”


In 2003, the country’s president Paul Kagame, himself a Ugandan-educated Tutsi, made English an official language alongside the country's first language, Kinyarwanda, and French.

However, five years later English replaced French as the language of education.