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July 27, 2005

New Vocabulary Being Developed for Sign Language in Namibia

From:, Africa - Jul 27, 2005

The Namibian (Windhoek)
July 27, 2005

By Oswald Shivute

A TEAM of teachers in the North is developing an expanded vocabulary for Namibian sign language to allow deaf children to learn science.

The Eluwa Sign Language Project was launched at the Eluwa Special School for deaf and hearing-impaired children at Ongwediva recently.

Bright Simasiku, the co-ordinator of the project, said Namibian sign language did not contain signs for scientific concepts, and this left deaf children at a disadvantage.

Teachers at the Eluwa School, with the help of deaf adults in the northern regions, will develop study guides and videotapes to be used by deaf pupils and their teachers.

The first volume in the series, to be published next January, will cover scientific terms.

The second volume, to be developed next year, will deal with mathematics, followed by social sciences in 2007 and English in 2008.

Simasiku said since the curriculum taught to deaf pupils at Eluwa Special School was the same as that taught at other schools in Namibia, the expanded sign language vocabulary would help deaf children to improve their examination results.

"Deaf adults in the community are going to be judges of all signs which will be used in the teaching guides and videotapes, for they are the native signers of the Namibian sign language," he said.

He made an appeal for funding, saying the project had so far received N$14 000 from the Government Institutions Pension Fund, which they used to buy a television set, digital camera, video recorder and office equipment.

The project co-ordinators are still in urgent need of studio lighting, because their offices are not suitable for filming.

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