Publisher: University of Port Harcourt

Integrating The Human Resource Into The Science and Technology Paradigm For Development: The Case of Kinyarwanda

Abubakar Kateregga
KEYWORDS: Language and development, science and technology, indigenous human resources, Kinyarwanda, endangered language


Most African governments are caught up in the dilemma of choosing between the “economic” and “human resource” models for development. In Rwanda’s VISION 2020, the government proposes a new paradigm shift of pursuing the latter, one that does not basically rely on traditional forms of agricultural exports per se but one that seeks to integrate and enhance the “human resource” through knowledge provision in the fields of ICT, science and technology, education, etc. Nonetheless, despite all such efforts, no tangible results may ever be reached if the development model embraced is irrelevant. An irrelevant model is one that excludes the harnessing of indigenous resources in the development process. One such ignored resource, as developed in this paper, is indigenous language. Most African governments lack coherent language policies that link language to development. They hardly provide adequate funding for indigenous language research and instruction programmes, justifying this decision by the massive support they give to “science and technology”. As a result, science and technology end up being feebly enhanced, ending up with importations from abroad of  all sorts of items that require elementary technology like needles, razorblades, cups, pins, spoons, matches, etc. These African governments forget that in order to go scientific and technological, the masses and not the “elites” alone need to be involved in the scientific and development processes. For development to take place, the masses ought to internalize scientific and technological concepts, theories and ideas in a language that they own. In an attempt to go scientific, indigenous language is not an alternative based on an “either/or” option. It is a comprehensive package that is a must, a package that should cut across the development spectrum. Language should therefore be included at every stage of the development agenda because it is defined as a “psycholinguistic process” that interfaces “culture” and “thought” of the individual. An environment that is devoid of a linguistic medium, simply cannot allow development to take place.

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