Involve deaf people in deaf education - protesters

2018-10-01 16:15
DeafSA wants the Western Cape Department of Education to appoint teachers fluent in sign language and to provide equal education opportunities for people with impaired hearing. Photo: Vincent Lali, GroundUp

DeafSA wants the Western Cape Department of Education to appoint teachers fluent in sign language and to provide equal education opportunities for people with impaired hearing. Photo: Vincent Lali, GroundUp

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Members of The Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA) Western Cape marched to the offices of provincial education minister Debbie Schafer in Vunani Chambers, Church Street on Friday.

They held placards that read: "Transformation in Deaf Education", "Nothing about Deaf without Deaf", and "Deaf voices leading solutions for Deaf education", according to a GroundUp report.

DeafSA Western Cape director Jabaar Mohamed used sign language to address the marchers.

He sent GroundUp a text of what he said: "Viva SASL (South African Sign Language), Viva! We will work with [the] Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and with our deaf community to make sure that our deaf children get better education... All we are asking [the] WCED, is to listen and work to our planning and decision-making. Please include deaf people in every decision when making decisions on deaf education and SASL."

Mohamed said the organisation wanted all deaf assistants to be appointed by the WCED, not by school governing bodies.

According to DeafSA, the Grade 12 pass rate for deaf pupils in 2016 was less than 29%.

Sigamoney Naicker, chief director for inclusive education and special programmes at the WCED, received a memorandum from the protesters.

"Over the last two years, we have made a lot of progress and worked hard to provide quality education," he said. "We are committed to quality education for all our [pupils]. You have particular issues that you are raising and we can't ignore them."

DeafSA Western Cape is demanding teaching staff members who are fluent in sign language; that deaf people be involved in all educational, linguistic, cultural, recreational and sporting programmes; that there be provision for early childhood development for deaf children in the 2019/20 financial year.

They also want a broader choice of subjects for deaf pupils.

Among other things, the memorandum asks that the department provide professional development opportunities for deaf teaching assistants and secure a post at the provincial office for a sign language chief education specialist by April 2019.

Read more on:    education  |  protests
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