Deaf Education in
South Africa
Claudine Storbeck
Fulbright Scholar
University of the Witwatersrand,
Johannesburg, South Africa
South Africa - Facts
• Southern tip of Africa
• 9 Provinces
• Size – > than France,
Italy & Germany
combined
• 35° south latitude (CT =
distance from equator as
Sydney and Los Angeles)
• Leading producer of
gold, platinum,
chromium and much of
world’s diamond market
South Africa – The people
•
•
•
•
•
45 Million people
> 20 ethnic groups
11 Official Languages
Predominantly Christian
National Anthem has 5
languages
Asians
Coloureds
3%
9%
Whites
10%
Africans
78%
South African - Politics
•
•
South African Democracy is born in
1994
South Africa's national anthem
Nksi sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho
lwayo. Morena boloka setjhaba sa
heso,
O fedise dintwa la matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba
sa heso,
Setjhaba sa South Afrika - South
Afrika.
Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.
South African History
• Brief Timeline
Early
Times
Colonisation from
Europe
Slavery
abolished
Union Of
SA
Apartheid
State
Bannings
& unrest
Tumultuous
early 90’s
Decade of
Democrac
y
1400
1652
1834
1910
1948-59
1960-89
1990-93
1994-2004
Various
black
peoples
settle in
South Africa
Hugenote
Settlers
arrive
Importing
Slaves
from East
Indies &
Madagasc
Slavery
abolished
and The
Great Trek
Union
founded,
after which
the ANC is
founded
Apartheid
initiated in
various
forms
SA leaves
commonwe
althrepublic,
ANC
armed
struggle
ANC
unbanned,
Mandela
released,
armed
struggle
suspended,
UN lifts
sanctions
ANCwins
1st nonracial
elections,
Mandela
1st
president of
democracy,
TRC, New
Constitutio
n, Thabo
Mbeki, AU
.
South African Laws
• 1996 - South African Constitution
• promote, & create conditions for the
development & use of ... sign language
• 1996 - South African Schools Act
• South African Schools Act, 1996
Chapter 2.6 No 4
A recognised Sign Language has the
status of an official
language for purposes of learning at a
public school.
• 1997 – Integrated National
Disability Strategy
• 1997 - Language in Education Act
• 2001 – White Paper 6
• Building an Inclusive Education
System
Education in South Africa
Mainstream Education
• Recently adopted an
Outcomes Based Education
system (OBE)
→ Curriculum 2005
• Inclusion – broad
philosophy as a reaction
against apartheid and
oppressive education
• Education for all
• Equal Education for all
• + Human rights approach
says – equal outcomes for
all
Deaf Education
• Teachers battle to
implement Outcomes
Based Education system
(OBE)
→ Curriculum 2005
• Inclusion: there is a false
assumption that inclusion
is bad or that all schools
will close down
South African Deaf Community
The great
debate
begins
1st Deaf
Clubs
National
Association
SASL
dictionaries
Deaf
Leadership
Conference
New
directions
1863
1881
1923/4
1928/9
1980+92
1995
1998
2004
1st school for
the Deaf in
Cape Town,
started by
Irish nuns
Oralism
formally
adopted in
SA due to
the Milan
conference
The 1st two
Deaf Clubs
initiated in
Cape Town
and Pretoria
respectively
1st
conference
for workers
in deafness,
which was
the
precursor to
the birth of
the National
Council for
the Deaf
1980
“Talking to
the Deaf”
published
and in 1990
the “South
African Sign
Language
Dictionary”
(6 volumes
and hotly
contested)
SANCD
becomes
DEAFSA
(which is
allowed
membership
of WFD), 1st
Deaf director
of DEAFSA
elected
1st
International
Conference
on Deaf
Education
DEAFSA
relaunches
with new
vibrant logo
1st Deaf
women
elected as
the Chair of
DEAFSA
1st
school
.
1st National
DEAFSA
Indaba
Deaf Education in South Africa
• 1.6 million Deaf people
in SA
• 200 – 300 000 users of
SASL
• 43 Schools for the Deaf
• Religious roots
• Historically racially
established
• Residential schools
• Language policies vary
• 1/3 functionally illiterate
• 70% unemployed
How do we challenge the status quo…?
• Train Teachers of the Deaf (not yet compulsory)
• Honours and Advanced Certificate level
• Teachers reflect our population
Preparing our Teachers …
• Content Knowledge
• Skills
• Challenge their philosophy,
their paradigm …
• We acknowledge plural
identities
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Deaf
hearing
Racial
Language
Gender
Religious
other
Research
• Train Deaf researchers to do research into SASL
• Provide opportunities for training, sharing, growing
• Empower
Community Service
Community Service – Deaf Baby programme
• Yet…. despite all we are doing as a
Country and as a Deaf Community
• Decade of democracy leading to true transformation
• Policies and legislation are in place
• Inclusive philosophy prevails
• Lobbying has gone well
……. it seems as if we are not doing
enough
Asking the
unasked
questions …..
What are the issues of concern?
• Why such high levels of illiteracy?
• Why are most Deaf learners vocationally/skills
oriented?
• Why do we allow our kids to be chanelled so soon
• Why is the distribution of success (h vs D) so
different?
• Why are educational outcomes so different
(content and level)
• Why is employment still a problem?
Why aren’t progressive policies
implemented
• Perhaps we have not thought through the
implications…?
• Perhaps we have not thought through the
strategies (short, medium and long term)
• Perhaps we don’t have the resources and need an
interim plan
• Perhaps we are just not implementing them…?
What does it mean to be a good
teacher of the Deaf?
•
•
•
•
Teacher efficacy
Communication skills
Effective and appropriate discourse
The correct knowledge, skills & attitudes
The unasked questions …
•
•
•
•
•
•
Is Sign Language enough…?
Is Deaf Culture enough…?
Is Bilingualism enough…?
Why reject inclusion in favour of the status quo?
Do we need a new theory…?
Is there a Deaf Pedagogy…?
What needs to be done…?
• We need to start asking more questions
(both re-asking the old and asking new/
unasked questions)
• We need to reflect (and be BOLD)
• We need to challenge the status quo
(current theories, practices
• We should truly aim for equality/
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