By VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI
THE Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) has called on government to provide sign language syllabus and materials for Grade 4 to Form 4 learners to ensure that deaf people have equal access to education.
The Primary and Secondary Education ministry, working with organisations of persons with disabilities in 2018, held a workshop to develop a sign language syllabus starting from Grade 3. The syllabus is yet to be operationalised.
DZT programmes officer Mirirai Nyabvure told NewsDay that due to lack of a syllabus and learning materials for deaf learners, they will significantly remain poor later in life in comparison to their able-bodied counterparts.
“The government should take action in implementing a working syllabus for the deaf. All syllabuses for other languages have been fully developed except for the sign language syllabus,” she said.
“We are advocating for inclusion where learners with disabilities learn in the same environment with those without disabilities. We are of the opinion that developing a syllabus for sign language will assist to harmonise, develop and describe the language.”
Nyabvure said currently, teachers use the same syllabus without taking into consideration the deaf, making it difficult for them to take part in lessons.
“The COVID-19-induced lockdown period affected deaf students who could not attend e-learning,” she said.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said: “We already have a syllabus for them, we are inclusive.”
Historically, persons with disabilities in the country have been viewed as welfare funds recipients, but they are now generally recognised as having the right to education on the basis of equal opportunity.