The English laboratory at Mount Kenya University Rwanda (MKUR) is open to members of the public.
This has been revealed by the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor designate in charge of academic research affairs, Dr. Catherine Wanjiku.
She said, whereas many people in the country may think the lab is for the exclusive use for the university’s students, anyone interested in learning English can do so at the facility.
English is the language of instruction at MKUR. For this reason, the university set up the lab to assist its students gain proficiency in the language.
MKUR receives students from different parts of the world. A good number of them come from French-speaking nations in Central and West Africa. In addition, other students hail from nations outside Africa. Some of them need to improve their English language skills.
English is a widely spoken language globally. It is the main language for international communication, business, academia, medicine, science, technology and law.
Informed by this fact, Rwanda adopted English as the third official language in the country.
Since 2008 when the government made that declaration, it has been encouraging Rwandans to acquire English language skills to be able to navigate today’s competitive world.
At MKUR, Rwandan students and their colleagues from other nations are helped to acquire English language skills with ease. The campus has a state-of-the-art English lab equipped with the latest audio technology used to train students so that they master the language.
“The lab supports students to learn and understand the English language. Our studies include different levels of English and combine reading, writing, listening and speaking. Its open to all MKUR campus-based students and those studying online. It’s also open to the general public for those who want to learn or improve their English language skills,” says Jean de Dieu, the English lab coordinator at the campus.
He further explained: “English being a popular language across the world, proficiency in it is a highly sought skill in the international work place.”
Jean De Dieu asserts that having English language skills gives those seeking international jobs an edge.
“Most professions in Rwanda need English speakers because of its significance to the business world and international trade. It is also the main language of the world and more than 500 million people use it every day. More than half of the world’s visited websites are in English.”
Dr. Wanjiku points out that many of the world’s best universities use English as the main language of instruction. She adds that huge volumes of books on diverse subjects taught at university are in English.
English language skills are therefore key in teaching and learning. “Therefore, the English lab plays a very important part in moulding students with little understanding of the English language,” she says.
MKUR attracts students from non-English speaking countries such as Mali, Chad, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because of its commitment to teach English to non-speakers and those who want to improve their English skills, argues Dr. Wanjiku.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, MKUR is focused on growth. It is similarly committed to sensitising the public on the essence of learning English and welcomes people to study the language at its lab.