As an organization, we acknowledge the right of deaf people in Eswatini to communicate and have access to SSL.
Promote Swazi Sign Language
Without recognition of SiSwati Sign Language (SSL) as a language in its own right, deaf youth will struggle to thrive independently and feel included in the broader community. SSL is tied to youths’ self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Without not only the right, but the freedom to communicate through their natural language, deaf youth will continue to feel isolated and excluded from society. As an organization, we acknowledge the right of deaf people in Eswatini to communicate and have access to SSL, and we seek to promote the use of SSL as the language of instruction for deaf youth.
Although the Minister of Education declared SSL a third language in schools in 2014, emphasis has not been placed on supporting the advancement of SSL as the language of instruction of deaf youth, and it is time for change. Deaf youth also deserve the space and coaching to sharpen their language skills and develop their self-expression. We acknowledge the strides that the Ministry of Education and Training, and the schools for the deaf have taken to provide quality education to deaf learners, and we understand that there is a lot of ground to cover, but elevating SSL as the language of the deaf is the essential first place to start.
This is supported by the Education Sector Policy of 2011 which states,
"To mainstream relevant, quality education for every learner, irrespective of gender, life circumstance, state of health, disability, stage of development, capacity to learn, level achievement, financial or any other circumstance” (pg. 17). Moreover, the policy objectives strive to “assure every learner in Swaziland has meaningful participation and achievement in the teaching and learning process” (pg. 18).
It is extremely important and valuable for all students to be able to fully express themselves, communicate, and explore a variety of topics in their education. Deaf students should not be limited in their education because educators are not trained or equipped to provide quality education.