“Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly” – William Shakespeare
English Language Day is celebrated every year on 23rd April – the day traditionally observed as both the birthday and date of death of William Shakespeare, one of the most famous English playwrights and authors in history.
In Rwanda the language of instruction in government schools from Primary 4 onwards is English, and at Umubano Primary School English is used throughout the school from the early years. At APIE we understand the importance of immersing children in a language from a young age, and we work with the staff at UPS to ensure English is prioritised alongside the mother-tongue of Kinyarwanda.
We appreciate that developing language skills does not just happen formally in the classroom but also in more informal school situations. At UPS, all students participate in clubs on a Friday afternoon. One of these is a Drama Club, which offers a great way for the students to develop their language, self-expression and confidence.
“The drama club helps the students to develop their range of vocabulary, as well as helping them to express themselves more clearly in English.” – Jean de Dieu Dusingize, UPS Head Teacher
Stephen Musewe is the P4-P6 English teacher at UPS and is also one of the teachers who runs the drama club for students from Primary 1 to Primary 6.
Why do you feel it is important for children in Rwanda to be confident English speakers?
I think children in Rwanda need to be confident in English as it is a global language. We don’t know where their future will take them and therefore they need to learn English well to help them communicate effectively and be able to work in different situations.
How does the drama club support the development of English at UPS?
In the drama club the plays are scripted in English. When the children role play they develop their confidence in using English. When children are improvising it helps them to develop their language skills.
Can you describe a highlight from drama club?
The drama club performed at a club forum where all the clubs in the school presented. They performed a play about a king. The play was performed in English and it was so successful that the school requested it be performed again as part of a closing day celebration for parents.
At APIE we are looking forward to celebrating English Language Day with all of the staff and students at UPS. Along with celebrating the importance of both Kinyarwanda and French, we also recognise the power of the English language to support this next generation to become global citizens, well prepared for what the future brings. Happy English Language Day!