Sign language curriculum to increase literacy in SA

Image courtesy Ian L/

The new South African Sign Language Curriculum is expected to increase the literacy levels of deaf pupils, which is currently documented at Grade Four level by the time they matriculate, the Gauteng Department of Education said yesterday.

Spokesman Gershwin Chuenyane said the curriculum to be rolled out in 2014 for the first time in South Africa will not be far off international standards because the roll-out will be supported with the necessary resources.

“The curriculum will also see pupils examined through filming and their footage assessed on various aspects of South African Sign Language,” he said.

Chuenyane was speaking after 115 teachers and district officials in seven of the Gauteng schools for deaf children received their NQF 4 certificates in South African Sign Language at the Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance in Vrededorp.

“The training was meant to ensure that teachers at the schools are adequately qualified to provide quality education in the most appropriate language understood by deaf learners, and in environments which maximise academic and social development,” he said.

The training incorporated disability awareness, understanding the linguistic features of South African Sign Language, deaf culture, educational techniques and materials to support deaf pupils.

Education MEC Barbara Creecy said the focus of the first roll-out of the curriculum was targeted at teachers in the foundation and intermediate phase. “We recognise that the majority of deaf learners come from hearing families and for many of them, their first point of learning South African Sign Language is at a school for the deaf,” she said.

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