Deaf News: South Africa introduces sign language into the curriculum for deaf children

Posted on November 19, 2013

South African sign language will be taught to all deaf children in South Africa as their home language for the first time, SABC News reports.

Normally, deaf children will be expected to learn English or Afrikaans but in line with the government’s aim to recognise sign language as an official national language, deaf children will be taught sign language to support their education and offer consistency across the country.


The Director of Inclusive Education at the department, Moses Simelani, says this is in line with government’s plan to make it one of the official languages.

“Sign language, in fact, is supposed to be the 12th language. Therefore, in terms of its status, even the curriculum that has been developed, there has been debates in terms of which level is it going be implemented at. Is it going to be implemented as a subject or is it going be implemented at home language level. But then the resolution from the DBE is that it’s going be implemented and taught at home language level; because we believe as a department that sign language is a home language for learners who are deaf.”

This news follows hot in the footsteps of Denmark’s moves to officially recognise sign language earlier in the month.

Sweden, Finland and Norway all teach sign language as part of the national curriculum but here in the UK, campaigners have been urging the government to establish a BSL GCSE. See the full story here.

Via Linda Richards

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