30 January 2019

Rwanda: Teachers to Sit English Language Tests This Year

Photo: New Times
Teachers.

University and Teacher Training College (TTCs) teachers will this year begin taking English tests to assess their proficiency in the country's language of instruction.

The programme will also focus on teachers to test their capabilities of the language to see what is needed to improve both teachers and students' ability to understand, write and speak the language.

The Minister for Education, Eugene Mutimura, said this Tuesday during a news conference in Kigali.

He said that the tests will be conducted in phases over the course of the next few years.

"The programme will start this year and will kick off starting with university lecturers and TTC tutors. Next year, the programme will move to S.6 teachers and in 2021, it will move to O 'Level and Upper Primary school teachers. This programme will be conducted in phases and at different universities," he said.

Mutimura said that the Government is currently working with the British Council to computerise the programme in different schools all over the country.

"Normally, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) programmes are computerised and used as a standardised test to measure the English language proficiency of non-native speakers in terms of hearing, speaking and writing and that is what we are doing," he said.

"This will help us gauge the language proficiency skills of the students and what is required to make it better. There will be categories of students classified in Level 1, 2 and 3 based on their understanding of the language."

School feeding

The minister also encouraged parents and teachers to be more supportive of the school feeding programme, which targets all students who spend the entire day at school.

"There is money that the Government set aside for this programme so that the students can feed," he said.

The Government increased the budget for the school teaching programme from Rwf4.3 billion in the 2017/18 fiscal year to Rwf4.8 billion this year.

"We encourage educators to choose what they feed these children carefully and to especially include milk in this diet," the minister said.

He later tweeted that schools should give at least half a litre of milk to each learner.

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