Ministry of Education director of inclusive education Lucy Magagula says the ministry is committed to increasing the number of teachers trained in sign language skills to ensure inclusive education.
She made the commitment yesterday in Mponela, Dowa District when the ministry in partnership with Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) launched the second phase of the sign language trainer of trainers training.
Magagula said Malawi has 28 900 learners struggling with variations in hearing impairments while 2 750 learners solely rely on sign language in primary education.
She said: “There are 1 299 learners with hearing impairments and 510 learners with total deafness in secondary education.
“Our target is to ensure that we bridge the communication gap that is there between teachers and learners in respective schools who have hearing impairments.”
Magagula said the existing gap is also affecting levels of attainment in national examinations and encouraged teachers to take full advantage of the training.
In an interview on the sidelines of the meeting, Macra director general Daud Sulemani called for the need to have more teachers and interpreters that can teach sign language.
“We are moving towards the formation of sign language clubs in schools, so engaging teachers is a necessary strategy to broaden the pool for sign language signers,” he said.
Hannah Chiwindi, a teacher at Thyolo Secondary School, said the training will help teachers overcome some of the challenges they face when dealing with hearing impaired learners.
“The training will help us a lot when we are in the course of teaching and learning and the academic performance of hearing impaired learners will improve,” she said.
The programme is funded by Macra through the Universal Service Fund (USF) whose objectives include ensuring connectivity of persons with disability while promoting sign language.
The week-long training has attracted 70 secondary and primary school teachers from 19 districts.