It’s official: SA sign language recognised

Tadhg Slattery sings the national anthem in sign language after winning gold in the 100m breaststroke SB5 during the 2004 Paralympic Games held in Athens, Greece. Picture: Tertius Pickard \ Gallo Images

Deaf pupils can now be taught and assessed in their own language, with SASL also becoming a matric subject.

South African sign language has been officially recognised as a home language and part of the overt curriculum that will be the examinable subjects for the National Senior Certificate in the education system.

The Quality Council for General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, released a report today on its study on the inclusion of South African Sign Language (SASL) in the curriculum as one of the examinable subjects for the National Senior Certificate.

The aim of the study was to provide guidance to Umalusi in its role as the quality assurer for SASL-Home Language with specific reference to school-based assessment and national examinations.

“Deaf learners in South Africa no longer need to feel like foreigners in their own land, and at last they can exercise their rights to be taught and assessed in their own language. This may be a bigger step than many people realise, for in recognising SASL as a home language in our education system, the system is by implication recognising Deaf culture as a fundamental part of South African culture,” said the council in a statement.

Chairperson of Umalusi Council, Prof John Volmink said: “Today we can say to deaf learners that the system has fully embraced them, that their language is valued and respected, and that they now have the opportunity to learn and study and be tested through the medium of their home language.”

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