The Sindh government is focused on addressing the educational needs of close to 300,000 deaf children across the province by increasing their access to education, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said.
Speaking to a delegation of Deaf Reach, the CM said his government planned to involve experts to develop a digital system of learning sign languages, as well as initiate activities to build teachers’ capacity. The CM also appreciated the organisations’ efforts and said his government looked forward to involving it in special education projects across the province.
Deaf Reach, an initiative of Family Educational Services Foundation (FESF) is a non-profit educational organization that has been working for the upward mobility of disadvantaged members in Pakistan since 1984. The Deaf Reach programme has been working to empower the Deaf community by catering to their educational, training as well as career development needs.
The Deaf Reach delegation consisted of CEO Richard Geary, Director Administration Daniel Marc Lanthier and Director Development Sarah Shaikh.
While sharing his views, Deaf Reach CEO Richard Geary said the vision of Sindh CM could be attained by introducing Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) learning resources across the province, along with launching a teachers’ training programme at 51 Special Needs Centres in Sindh.
Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) Learning Resources is an innovative project sponsored by Ilm-Ideas and features a visual lexicon of 5,000 words on a searchable web portal, phone application and web portal. These open-ended teaching tools aim at bridging the gap in the present-day educational materials and needs for the deaf members of the society.
Shah also directed the development of PSL resources at primary levels that would also be available at the PSL portal with open access all over the province.
The Deaf Reach team also informed Shah that the Sukkur and Nawabshah campuses for Special Education were overcrowded and hence needed immediate expansion.
Shah directed the secretary for special education to immediately complete the Jacob Lines Complex in Karachi in order to accommodate and cater to the existing needs. He also directed the STEVTA building at Sukkur to be completed with immediate effect and issued orders to make arrangements for constructing a building in Nawabshah.
The Sindh CM acknowledged the fact that private education for special children was expensive, resultantly, many children were on the waiting list for government-administered special schools, including campuses in Sukkur. Shah said parents were interested in enrolling their children in government-administered schools and wanted to make them valuable citizens of the country.
The meeting estimated that each student at the centre would cost Rs 6,900 to the Sindh government, including a tuition fee Rs 2,400, transportation Rs 1,500, student supplies Rs 700, vocational training with relevant material Rs 360, parents training scheme Rs 300 and teachers training scheme Rs 400.