Guest post: 'My mother tongue is a part of my life'
As the world is celebrating International Mother Language Day today on February 21 2017, it is a good opportunity for people the world over to celebrate their mother tongue, and to consider the value it brings to their lives.
I believe in the power of Mother Languages in achieving sustainable development in education.
In order to strengthen education at Umubano Primary School, Kinyarwanda - the Rwandan Mother Language - is taught and used at our school, alongside the official teaching language of English. We do this as we believe that when you acquire fundamental language skills in your mother tongue it supports the learning of other languages and skills. That’s why we are so proud of developing multilingualism at our school. Our students can choose to communicate either in Kinyarwanda or English in their break times. They also have some hours of French, and we hope that as many of them have a strong base of Kinyarwanda as the mother tongue and English as their second language, that French will also be acquired quickly.
Rwanda as a country has its own uniqueness. One of the first unique points is Kinyarwanda; our mother tongue that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. To teach it is to preserve it and keep our identity. The second unique point of Rwanda is our values. These are well transmitted through Kinyarwanda. So, valuing our mother tongue is valuing our Rwandan values. And to lose our values is to lose a bright future informed by our history.
As learning starts at home in the learners’ home language, we thank all the parents who are working hard to teach their children Rwanda’s Mother language, and remind everyone to do the same.
“Reading and speaking in my mother tongue make me more confident in it. The more confident I feel in my mother tongue, the quicker I learn new languages and skills”: a P6 student said.
After performing very well in a Kinyarwanda test, this P6 student said that it is because she loves her mother tongue and she added that she feels more active and creative while using her mother tongue.