22 January 2009

Rwanda: ULK Adopts English as the Only Language of Instruction

Kigali — The founder and Chancellor, Professor Rwigamba Balinda, of the Kigali Independent University (ULK) has announced the scrapping of French as a language of instruction at the university.

This was publicly announced, during the student's orientation briefing for this academic year by the Chancellor at the ULK stadium.

Professor Balinda said that no more use of French in all courses in both the Kigali and Gisenyi campuses.

The development follows last year's announcement by the government to promote the use of English as the medium of instruction in all public schools from primary to institutions of higher learning.

The decision was taken by the government to help build a competitive workforce that would compete favourably on the international market.

"ULK has taken that decision to enhance international standards and adapt to the cabinet decision (encouraging use of English); We have invested in everything needed in all areas to implement this...French is an expiring language," Balinda advised the students.

According to Dr. Rose Kasibirege, the Vice- Rector in charge of academics, ULK has hired other lecturers for five months to take over while their own undergo English training.

She revealed that, ULK had also hired some professionals who will teach listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills which will be offered free of charge to students.

According to the national curriculum, students in universities who underwent secondary education in the country are meant to be bilingual since both English and French had previously had the same hours in terms of lessons right from primary school.

Regarded as the country's biggest private university, ULK previously used both English and French as languages of instruction. It has so far awarded 5802 Bachelors degrees.

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