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November 11, 2002

Sign language education to be considered

From: SABC News, South Africa
Nov. 11, 2002

The government would look into the possibility of having South African Sign Language as medium of instruction and as a school subject, Kader Asmal, the Education Minister, said today.

"We have to look into the matter seriously," he told a news conference in Pretoria. The draft curriculum for grades 10 to 12, released for public comment recently, does not provide for SA sign language as a subject. It states that pupils should take two of South Africa's 11 official languages as subjects, one of which should be their medium of instruction.

At present, not all teachers at schools for the deaf are able to use sign language. Asked about whether any plans were being made to make SA Sign Language compulsory for deaf school education, Asmal pointed out that the language was recognised in the Constitution. "We may move to a regulated approach to sign language."

The issue should be taken up at the meeting of the heads of the national and provincial education departments (Hedcom), he said. Thami Mseleku, the director-general of education, indicated that there might be developments in this regard by February, when the final grade 10 to 12 curriculum will be launched. - Sapa

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