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Sign language important

February 6, 2007

Web Posted – Tue Feb 06 2007
By Allison Ramsay

THE (NDU) National Disabilities Unit is seeking to ensure that its sign language interpreters are accredited and certified so that the communication through sign language can be spread much further throughout Barbados.

Director of the NDU in the Ministry of Social Transformation, Errol Best and principal of the Irving Wilson School, Wilmot Straughn spoke to this proposal at the sign language community outreach graduation ceremony on Saturday evening at Alexandra School in St. Peter.

The graduation ceremony was the first in the community outreach programme which is a partnership between the NDU and the Irving Wilson School that seeks to facilitate the integration of persons with disabilities; particularly the deaf and hearing impaired in all aspects of community living.

According to Best, to spread the programme further into the community, the NDU is working with the Ministry of Education to be able to use some of their facilities in the evenings.

He said the Education Ministry already gave permission for the use of another six schools from September which means we will be able to reach more persons within the community with the sign language course.

He noted that this year’s graduation class has brought the number of persons who have acquired the skills needed to effectively communicate with the hearing impaired to 1 325.

Best also said that over 130 public officers have graduated from sign language courses since the National Union of Public Workers started with the programme in 2002.

Best explained that the 130 are from throughout the public service such as nurses, police and immigration officers. He added that it is important to train workers in those various sectors so that the deaf or hearing impaired would be able to communicate and be understood.

Minister of Social Transformation Trevor Prescod said he was pleased that the sign language programme has been put on the national agenda and that the programme has been brought from the urban communities right across the national landscape.

Over 50 children from primary and secondary schools at Bayleys Primary and from the Boscobelle Primary, St. Peter graduated from the programme.