Peacebuilding through Language Mentorship in Rwanda’s Primary Education: Challenges facing key stakeholders
Several studies have been conducted following a 2008 policy in Rwanda that made English language the medium of instruction from the fourth year of primary school. However, there is a considerable research gap between language policy changes, positive peace and peacebuilding generally. Thus, based on existing knowledge that language introduction can harm positive peace, this paper investigates how a language mentorship programme can mitigate teachers’ worries in their working environment and therefore play a role in positive peace restoration. Qualitative data were collected from mentors, head teachers, and teachers sampled from four rural districts in Rwanda. The findings indicate that the School-Based Mentorship (SBM) programme contributes to positive peace restoration whenever mentors are adequately helping teachers to recover their confidence in classroom management. SBM is expected to help teachers feel comfortable in the language of instruction, which makes them feel safe at work and they subsequently regain the classroom authority they had been lacking. SBM yields positive results where the mentor and head teacher work hand in hand. Thus, lack of such collaboration, a single class for all trainees despite their different language needs, lack of adequate teaching materials, unstructured or absence of mentors’ regular monitoring and evaluation, are among challenges that hinder the optimum delivery of the programme.
Key words: Mentorship programme, English as a medium of instruction, language policy, peacebuilding, positive peace, mentors, teachers.