Education Department Makes Strides In Use Of Sign Language

As part of the government’s efforts to remove barriers that prevent children in the deaf community from communicating effectively, new regulations have been gazetted.

South Africa has made great strides when it comes to the use of sign language. For example, recently, the government made regulations that aim at making South African Sign Language (SASL) the official 12th language in South Africa.

In the gazetted amendment, it states that the Department of Basic Education will now recognize SASL as a home language and part of the national school curriculum for Grades R-12.

Such a Deaf learner may, in terms of section 6(4) of the South African Schools Act, 1996, offer South African Sign Language, which has the status of an official language for the purposes of learning

This means that deaf learners will now be able to select SASL as a home language in schools.

The department has also made amendments to the passing criteria for learners who select SASL as a home language in schools.

Adequate Achievement in South African Sign Language at the Home Language level will be stipulated as Level 4, 50%-59%.

SASL is an extremely valuable language because it is the first language for people in the deaf community, so these positive strides have great impacts on learners’ ability to excel at school now that they will be able to take SASL as a home language.

“This Regulation is called the Amendment Regulations pertaining to the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12, 2022, and will come into effect on the date of publication in the Government Gazette.”

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Many have expressed that South Africa needs more people who are fluent users of the language which will ultimately lead to more Inclusivity of the language as well as an increased appreciation for deaf culture.

The amendment made by Minister Motshekga is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of breaking barriers in the deaf community.

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