Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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MoPSE finalizes sign language infant education syllabus

Rutendo Chirume

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) has finished the construction of sign language syllabus for the infant level as part of efforts to implement learning of the language in schools six years after signing of the Sign Language Bill in 2015.
MoPSE Learner’s welfare director Kwadzanayi Nyanungo told Parliament on November 5, 2021, of the plans to make the teaching and learning of sign language mandatory in schools.
“You will also be happy to know that our ministry has already finalized infant education syllabus in sign language to ensure that sign language is taught as a language on its own right.
“Sign language should be examined and we are now proceeding with junior school up to secondary education syllabus so that anyone can learn sign language like any other language,” said Kwadzanayi.
However a Masvingo parent Prudence Hove raised concern over the need for schools to take that step seriously saying schools do not have enough resources to cater for students with special needs.
“If you go to Rujeko Primary School in Masvingo Urban, you will find that all students with different forms of disabilities are put in one class despite having various forms of disability. Children like that need special care according to each child’s level of disability,” said Hove.
When asked on the progress of policy implementation in schools, MoPSE Director of Information and Advocacy Taungana Ndoro said sign language is available in Zimbabwe just like any other language and is not mandatory.
“In Zimbabwe it is a language just like any official one and not mandatory. Yes it is available but not mandatory,” said Ndoro.
Despite the fact that sign language is recognized as one of the official languages in Zimbabwe, nothing much has been done to ensure that schools provide suitable infrastructure and even human resources to teach sign language at schools.
In Masvingo, Henry Murray is the only institution catering for the deaf and there is virtually no progress towards learning of sign language is accessible as a language in other schools.
Contacted for comment, Masvingo Provincial Education Director (PED) Shylatte Mhike said they wish there were sign language teachers in schools so that they could enroll leaners with such special needs.
“We do not have enough teachers in Masvingo province otherwise we would have been enrolling deaf students at any school. Henry Murray is the only school in Masvingo that we have that is offering sign language and it is sad because some of these kids never get an opportunity to acquire proper education. However, as a ministry we are working on the progress,’’ said Mhike.
Sign language is one of the 16 official languages in Zimbabwe.
Education Amendment Act of 2020 states that it is obligatory for every registered school to provide infrastructure, subject to availability of resources, suitable for use by learners with disabilities.

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