Main Article Content

The acquisition of English as a second language in Rwanda: Challenges and promises

E Sibomana


The use of English in daily communication in Rwanda is very limited and the proficiency in English by many of those who claim the ability to use it has been questioned. This situation is in spite of a relatively long history of English as a school subject and a medium of instruction in Rwanda. Building on the factors which are believed to affect second language (L2) acquisition and learning, this article explores constraints, challenges, possibilities and promises regarding the acquisition of English in the Rwandan sociolinguistic context. The article suggests that while the teaching of English has been improved and several factors appear to increase Rwandan people’s motivation to learn English, the context is not yet favourable to the attainment of communicative competence in this language. In fact, given the limited use of English in daily communication, the opportunities for learners to receive and produce enough input and
output respectively are still very limited.

Key words: English, second language acquisition, proficiency, input, output, motivation