Government raises concern over the limited number of sign language teachers in the country.
The Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development (Disability Affairs), Hellen Asamo, has urged the lawmakers to support the Ministry of Public Service to have all public institutions staffed with sign language interpreters, for meaningful inclusion of the deaf community at work.
She called on MPs to support the education and sports ministry to staff schools with sign language interpreters.
Asamo was presenting a statement on the International Deaf Awareness Week during plenary sitting on Thursday. This year’s event will run from 19 to 23 September 2022 with the main celebration in Iganga Municipality, eastern Uganda on the concluding day.
According to the minister, Uganda has 1,290,000 deaf people, the majority of whom are benefiting from the special grant for persons with disabilities.
She said that support from the MPs will enable deaf children access education in their localities, without moving to the few specialised schools for the deaf.
“Some schools are not covered with the special schools yet inclusive education is still challenged with resourcing, hence excluding most of the deaf children in untargeted regions,” Asamo said.
She said that this year’s theme of the Deaf Awareness Week, “Building inclusive Communities for all: Uganda sign language unites us”, calls for support to professional and trained Uganda sign language interpreters to enable participation of deaf people in society.
“The recognition of sign language as an official language in the Constitution of Uganda is important for the inclusion of the deaf people in Uganda’s Vision 2014 and achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda of leaving no one behind,” she said.
Luwero district Woman MP, Hon. Brenda Nabukenya, welcomed the minister’s request for Parliament’s support, saying that inclusiveness cannot be achieved without schools for the deaf.
Nabukenya called for the construction of more schools for the deaf across the country
Flavia Nabagabe MP, Kassanda district said that to ensure inclusiveness, all health workers need to be trained in sign languages to enable the deaf freely access medical care.
“When the deaf go to health facilities where there are no interpreters, their right to privacy is violated because they cannot be able to go into detail about their conditions,” she said.
Some MPs suggested that the government should consider constructing secondary schools as well as institutions of learning for the deaf, and not limit it to only primary schools.