17 Sep 2014 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 17 SEP (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Education (MoE) inaugurated a new office building for the Centre for Communication and Deaf Studies (CCDS) in the capital on Tuesday.
The centre is situated at the premises of the National Institute for Special Education.
Inaugurating the centre, Minister of Education David Namwandi said the centre aims to strengthen Namibian Sign Language (NSL) and promote awareness about the communication needs of hearing impaired persons.
The CCDS will create a network of research, knowledge and skills across the full spectrum of deafness, strengthen special and inclusive schools to ensure the offering of quality education for the hearing impaired while developing NSL teaching and learning material to be used in schools.
The centre will also provide training for teachers of hearing impaired learners in resource and inclusive schools, teacher assistants and teacher sign language interpreters.
Namwandi noted that the CCDS will develop training programmes and seek accreditation, search for employment for out-of-school youths, and liaise with prospective employers while training parents and other professionals working with hearing impaired people such as school counsellors, social workers and rehabilitation officers, amongst others.
The centre will also facilitate cooperation with line ministries, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders in deaf education, and cooperate with the Directorate of Adult Education in the MoE to train hearing impaired literacy promoters.
The minister commended the work of the CCDS since its inception in 2008, noting that the centre has drawn up examination papers for Grade 10 and 12 national external NSL examinations, and moderated the examinations, amongst other activities.
The Education Minister stressed that his ministry recognises the potential of hearing impaired people and has committed itself to the empowerment of the marginalised group, hence the establishment of the CCDS.
He said apart from making Namibia a prosperous, harmonious and industrialised state by 2030, Vision 2030 also aims to improve the life of every Namibian.
It is thus imperative to recognise the special effort that should be made in order to ensure that people with disabilities are catered for in the realisation of Vision 2030 and are not left behind, he added.
Namwandi further noted that an estimated 18 000 hearing impaired Namibians could have been excluded from taking part in development due to the communication barriers with the hearing community.
Additionally, the social and economic barriers hearing impaired people face affect their opportunities in accessing education, reasonable employment and community participation.