Issue Number 3 2017 Deaf Bulletin

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Global Week of Action for Education 2017

By Barbra Nyangairi

Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in celebrating the global week of action for education from the 23rd to the 29th of April under two themes. I will focus on one theme the SDG 4 which seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. I will borrow VVOB’s (Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance) definition of quality education which states that “a good quality education is one that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and enhance individual well-being.” Currently our education system is a far cry from being inclusive and providing quality for learners with disabilities. The majority find themselves doing petty vending on the streets or begging. I have had an opportunity to interact with Deaf learners as we meet for positive parenting programmes with parents. It is sad to note that many who are supposed to be in grade 7 are not able to read, write and are functionally illiterate. Asked to explain how they feel, they do not know how to express their feelings i.e. sad, happy, joy or unhappy. They seem like a blank slate on which something has to be written. 

What quality is there if someone has been in the school system and remains functionally illiterate? Has the investment in the education of children with disabilities had any positive returns and how can we redeem this situation. This requires a lot of reflection and collaborative work on the part of all stakeholders. We need to join hands and find sustainable solutions that will provide quality education to children with disabilities. The first port of call could be the development of an inclusive education policy that provides guidelines on how to provide support to vulnerable children in the education system. Currently efforts to support children with disabilities in the education system are not guided by any force of policy.

In addition, how do we attain quality education when Deaf learners do not have a sign language syllabus to use? As we celebrate the global week of education, at Deaf Zimbabwe Trust we do this with much sadness at the state of education for children who are Deaf and those with disabilities broadly, who need the most care but are the most neglected and forgotten… Think deeply about this as you celebrate this event.

Other topics in this bulletin:

  • Positive Parenting: Things “not to do” when you have a Deaf child.
  • World Health Day – 7 April.

About DZT

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust was formed and registered as a trust in 2012 and began operations in 2013. Initially the organisation was formed to advance the rights of Deaf children.

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