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Sign language for all

Photo: Deaf and hearing students will be taught sign language

Sign language is to be taught to both deaf and hearing children in Kenyan schools. This is an exciting leap forward in making sure deaf children are fully included in education, their community and wider society. This will help end the isolation deaf children can experience, boost their chances of achieving as well as hearing children and give them a more equal chance of earning a living.

This move follows the Government’s six-year review of its education curriculum, in consultation with groups including us here at Deaf Child Worldwide. The aim was to include a special focus on adapting the new curriculum to meet the needs of students with disabilities in Kenya. Many parents of deaf children are too poor to buy and maintain hearing aids, so widespread knowledge of even the most basic sign language will make a huge difference.

During a three-month pilot, many of the 470 schools trialing the new curriculum will introduce Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) lessons. It’s a remarkable move, especially as the Government only recognised KSL six years ago. If successful, plans are being drawn up to see how all schools can teach KSL and how students could sit exams using sign language, not just English and Swahili.

Read more in our Global Partnership for Education blog.