Sign language's inclusion in tertiary institutions' curricula now a must: Expert
Stellenbosch University's Dr Kate Huddlestone said the recognition of sign language as the country's 12th official language is an opportunity to develop educational resources and increase access for deaf students to higher education.
CAPE TOWN - Stellenbosch University has called for urgent transformation regarding the deaf community, citing a need for more of their inclusion into academic spaces.
The institution welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent announcement recognising sign language as the country's 12th official language.
The university believes raising the status of the language will open many doors for the deaf community.
"Acknowledging South African Sign Language as an official language has significant implications for higher education institutions and requires that they integrate South African Sign Language and deaf culture into their curricular,” said senior lecturer of linguistics Dr Kate Huddlestone.
“This is an opportunity to develop educational resources and increase access for deaf students to higher education."
Meanwhile, Western Cape Education Department’s spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond, admitted that owing to its non-official status, there have been challenges with sign language teachers.
"We need to consider the fact that it was not an official language previously. There was and currently is a shortage of South African Sign Language teachers that are available to teach the subject. So, this will need to be addressed over time."