Sign language dictionary to enhance inclusive education – MANAD

Machinga, Executive Director for Malawi National Association for the Deaf (MANAD), Byson Chimenya has said inclusive education would be meaningful to persons with hearing impairment once a dictionary on sign language is introduced in schools.

He made the observation on Tuesday at Community Development Training Centre in Liwonde, Machinga when he closed a three-day workshop on the development of a sign language dictionary.

The Executive Director said learners with hearing difficulties were denied access quality education in school due to lack of sign language learning materials, noting that Malawi is one of the few countries in the world which has no law on sign language.

Chimenya said although the country’s Constitution does not recognize sign language but said the language has potential to improve the education of persons with hearing challenges.

We don’t have enough hearing aid devices that can help us to legalize sign language. We can only advocate for the legislation of sign language once access to sign language materials is made available to everyone, he said.

Chimenya said MANAD believes that the introduction of the dictionary would improve the performance of deaf learners and reduce school dropout in the process.

He added that the sign language dictionary would help teachers to understand how best to handle learners with hearing impairment, disclosing that over K30 million has been set aside for the dictionary, which he hoped, would be available for use before 2021.

Once we produce this dictionary, we want to engage other partners like the National Initiative for Civic Education, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Education in distributing and popularizing the dictionary, the Director said.

Chimenya said the majority of MANAD members were males, adding that cultural factors bar women from participating in the association’s activities.

He said MANAD has since developed deliberate programmes aimed at encouraging women to join the association which promotes and protects the rights of deaf persons in the country.

Source: MANA Online