The Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) is appealing to Government to introduce sign language in the Ugandan curriculum and have it taught as a subject.
Speaking to the press at the Uganda media centre today, the association’s executive director Joseph Mbulamwana said many deaf people have been left powerless, unable to communicate.
“Deaf people are appealing to the Government to design and operationalize a sign language curriculum where sign language is taught as a subject. Include sign language interpreters in public service structures including a course in sign language in all medical, police, teacher and law training schools,” said Mbulamwana through a sign language interpreter Olivia Nakigozi.
Mbulamwana added that without Government prioritising sign language for deaf persons in Uganda, poverty and ignorance among vulnerable, now approximately 3% of the population will continue to exist.
Formed in 1973 by deaf persons themselves, UNAD brings together an estimated 1,083,649 deaf persons in Uganda according to UBOS 2014.
Uganda is set to join the rest of the world to commemorate the international deaf awareness week (IDAW) from 23rd to 27th September 2019 in Kisoro district.
The purpose of IDAW is to draw the attention of politicians, authorities and the general public to the achievements and concerns of deaf persons and their organizations.
Mbulamwana called upon the Government to implement the Constitutional provision as enshrined in the Constitution to provide and promote sign language for the deaf people.
“Due to limited efforts to promote sign language, thousands of deaf persons are not acknowledgeable in Uganda sign language”
However, Agnes Nampeera Bulega, a senior rehabilitation officer in the Ministry of Gender labor and social development said that the Ministry has gone ahead to work with Uganda communications commission (UCC) to make sure deaf persons access news and get informed about the happenings in the country.
“Government has ensured that sign language is taught in all primary teachers colleges in Uganda,” she added
Further, Bulega said that Government constructed special schools for the deaf, encouraged deaf persons to form groups, write proposals and get grant from the government which is non-refundable among others.