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Some people have misconceptions that the art of debate solely belongs to those who speak a language as their first language or those who speak it natively. This is wrong as the word misconception has it. Actually, debating is all about braving the motion, searching about it and then trusting one’s mind. This is what characterized the students enrolled in the 2016-2017 masters’ program at ULK Gisenyi campus on 26th March, 2016.

The debate was friendly and neither side competed for any other prize apart from self-esteem. One might not believe it but the majority of those students are Congolese nationals who did their bachelor’s program in French. Not only was their bachelor’s program done in French, but they also did their primary and secondary education in French, the language of Molière.

The debate took place after an intensive English course offered by ULK Language Center team. It was in the framework of assessing the progress made ever since these students especially those from Democratic Republic of Congo, joined Kigali Independent University for their master’s program.
While debating, the students proved to have learnt numerous English expressions, new words, proverbs, to mention just a few.


Indeed, most of the expressions used were in line with the context of the talk. Not only did the students add numerous expressions to their vocabulary load, but they also mastered some hints pertaining to speaking effectively. As a typical example, the debaters could properly use the body language, maintain eye-contact, speak loudly enough to be heard, and so forth.

Asked to have a say on the debate, Mr Bienfait Polepole, a master’s candidate and debater, said that the debate enabled them to measure the progress made as far as English language is concerned. He also said that the acquired knowledge will help them to swim confidently along their master’s studies.

“The debate was so good. It helped us to know where we came from and how far we still have to go as students who grew up in a francophone country. Of course the progress we’ve made so far is laudable because some of us couldn’t form meaningful sentences but now as you can see, we are expressing ourselves. We believe that this knowledge will help us to finish our master’s program with no problem”, he proudly said.

Speaking at the function, Mr Nizeyimana Sylvain, Director of the Language Center who also doubles as English skills lecturer commended the students for the progress made in such a short period of time.

He also urged them to aspire more so as to better master the language “Dear students, it’s awesome to see that you are echoing your views in the language of Shakespeare with ease. You really deserve many thanks, but most importantly, you have to aim higher and make sure you thoroughly master this global language”, he briefed them.

In the same perspective, Mr Manirakiza Jean Baptiste, English skills lecturer, said that everything is possible when someone is willing to act accordingly. “I’m missed of words. What these students have showcased is a proof that everything is possible for those willing. Indeed, this is in line with the famous proverb, where there is a will, there is a way, “, he said.


It should be noted that master’s programs ULK Gisenyi Campus kicked off early in 2015. In a bid to ensure that students will easily decipher the contents of their course-notes or even understand their lecturers during classes, students undertake preliminary skills in English language.

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