BUJUMBURA October 24th (ABP) – The permanent executive secretary of the Rundi Academy, Mr. Clément Bigirimana, opened, Thursday, October 19, 2023, a validation workshop of a study carried out by the Rundi Academy, in different directions schools on the use of languages in the Burundian education system.
According to him, the Rundi Academy is a structure of the Ministry of National Education which is there to establish a framework of exchange to inform linguistic policies, focusing attention on the development of the national language, Kirundi.
And to add that that study carried out by the Rundi Academy entitled “Towards the establishment of an educational linguistic policy in Burundi: Sociolinguistic situation in the school environment”, had the objective of inventorying the linguistic needs of learners, establishing priority rapid interventions with a view to providing learners with better performance, but also to identifying language problems with a proposal for support measures.
According to Bigirimana, Burundi is part of the Francophonie and member states of the East African community, specifying that there are four languages which are present in the Burundian socio-linguistic configuration. Those are Kirundi, French, English and Kiswahili. He pointed out that French enjoys a privileged status, alongside Kirundi which is the national and official language throughout the country.
In the education sector, the permanent executive secretary of the Rundi Academy also stressed that from primary school to university, French is also the language of instruction from the 4th primary year for mathematics and all subjects from the 5th year onwards.
The teaching of French constitutes a driving force in the acquisition of knowledge in the discipline of French and in other non-linguistic disciplines, he added.
In the same vein, Mr. Bigirimana pointed out that the structure of the basic school language manual in the form of KFAS (Kirundi, French, English and Swahili), reflects the desire of the ministry to be able to provide students with necessary language skills so that they can integrate into French-speaking, English-speaking and Swahili-speaking communities.
Through that study, the executive secretary of the Rundi Academy declared that French remains a preferred language by teachers, administrators and by the students surveyed because, according to the Rundi Academy survey, more than 80% of teachers use that language to teach. That shows the decrease in success in the different schools because the students do not master that language in the different courses.
To that end, he stressed that the Rundi Academy plans awareness workshops on the use of languages so that all teachers can use those three languages in their teaching, depending on the course. He invited teachers to double their efforts to achieve perfect mastery of that teaching tool, without putting aside the other languages learned at school. Mr. Bigirimana also thanked the international organization of La Francophonie for the financial support it provided to the Rundi Academy for carrying out that study.
In the school career, he explained that teaching-learning includes the development of communication skills in all languages. That is observed through the basic education curriculum, where the concern is based on the establishment of a program that meets the linguistic needs of learners.
Concerning the language of instruction, their concern focuses on horizontal coherence between learning the language of schooling and other non-linguistic disciplines. Learning French must be at the service of other subjects to facilitate learning, he stressed.
To sustain mastery of that language, Mr. Bigirimana also pointed out that the ministry responsible for national education has undertaken a continuing education teaching policy by adopting continuing training strategies.
In addition, that policy made it possible to strengthen the capacities of more than 20,000 basic school teachers at the methodological level of the four disciplines.