“Teachers must learn sign lingo”

2018-09-13 06:00
Learners from Noluthando School for the Deaf performing for the guests at their 30th birthday.        PHOTOs: simamkele mbanga

Learners from Noluthando School for the Deaf performing for the guests at their 30th birthday. PHOTOs: simamkele mbanga

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September is Deaf Awareness Month, and Noluthando School for the Deaf recently celebrated 30 years of existence.

Established in 1988, in response to a growing need for a school for children with hearing difficulties, the school has grown exponentially.

The school, in Site B, has its origins in a shipping container, with just 13 learners at inception.

In 1993, a formal structure was built where the school is now located. To date, the school prides itself as one of the top schools for people with hearing difficulties in the province.

It also boasts modern technology, including a computer lab. Over the years, the school had teamed up with a number of reputable companies, including the Whisper Boat Building Academy, where learners are trained to assemble boats.

The school has also expanded and opened its doors to children with autism, while also introducing isiXhosa to them.

To mark the occasion, learners entertained guests with music, dance and gumboot dancing.

Nina Mafenuka, head of department in the foundation phase, said the school has achieved so much. One of the highlights being a visit by former president Nelson Mandela in 2003. She described the visit as a huge motivation for the learners. Since then, Mafenuka said the school has seen significant growth all around.

Jane Erasmus, a teacher, added: “We also have two computer labs that were sponsored by MTN and our old buses have given way to new ones over the years.” added

Ayanda Ncinane, the principal, said they are striving to be a centre of excellence by changing the way things are done. He said they were striving to ensure that learners needs are met.

“We have since established an outreach programme. Our duty as a resource centre is to support other neighbouring schools, and, at the moment we are supporting three,” he said.

Learners’ Representative Council’s Zandisile Solunjani said they wanted more support from the teachers. He also called on teachers to learn the sign language.

“We would really like it if the school could have more grades, up to 12, because we want more deaf learners to be successful, achieve their dreams and further their education, as many of us end up staying at home.”

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