18 October 2008

Global Rwanda ~ Drops French, Adopts English

President Paul Kagame and fellow political leaders of Rwanda, the small but populous central African country, have decided to drop French and shift to English as their global language of choice. This means young Rwandan children will be taught in English. Rwanda thus joins the anglophone East African Community of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, they apply to join the historically British Commonwealth, and in many other ways they shed their sordid belgian-french francophone past. Says Yisa Claver, director of policy in the Rwandan Education Ministry in a Globe & Mail article...
"English is now the business language. Rwanda is trying to be a knowledge-based economy. English is the language of research. We're trying to be a regional hub of ICT [information and communications technology] and English is the language of ICT. Rwanda is now in the East African Community, where the official language is English. Rwanda is trying to have a service industry as a priority - we don't have diamonds and minerals and all those things, we want tourism and all those guys speak English . . . China! The World Bank! The UN! Their first language is English. For God's sake, this is a noble decision."

Many tech-and-media-savvy young Rwandans had already decided that their future lies in English. "I grew up speaking French," said Jean-Pierre Niyitanga, 25, who manages a media training project. His parents still speak to him in Kinyarwanda. But these days, he goes by J.P. and when he chats at Bourbon Coffee, it's in English.

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