Media Alert: Premier and Minister Grant to Visit De La Bat School for the Deaf
In 2010, Premier Zille appointed a task team to investigate the state of education at special needs schools, accommodating deaf or hard-of-hearing children in the Western Cape. The task team made specific recommendations for improving the quality of teaching and learning in the schools. One of the recommendations was to introduce South African Sign Language (SASL) as a Language of Teaching and Learning (LOLT) in the classroom. It also recommended establishing SASL as a subject in schools for the Deaf.
A draft SASL curriculum was then developed by the WCED and a delegation from the Free State Department of Education.
In 2010 a pilot project to test the draft curriculum and introduce SASL as a home language was initiated at De la Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester. The pilot, the first of its kind in SA, initially targeted the Foundation Phase, but was later expanded in 2012 to the Intermediate Phase and the Senior Phase in 2013.
Given the success of the pilot, the programme was expanded to four other schools for the Deaf this year, namely Noluthando, Dominican Wittebome, Mary Kihn and Nuwe Hoop. All teachers at these schools are trained to teach using SASL as LOLT.
The pilot is due to end at the end of September 2013. The final report will be submitted to DBE (Department of Basic Education) during October 2013. The schools are currently preparing for the introduction of SASL as a home language, which is to be introduced to schools in 2014.
On Tuesday, 10 September, Premier Zille and Minister Grant will be visiting the school, where they will be presented with an overview of the project, an exhibition of teaching and learning resources that was developed during the pilot and a demonstration of SASL being used in the classroom as a home language and as a medium of instruction.
Date: 10 September 2013