The momentum of change in Deaf education in Namibia will not be stopped

- a successful conference on Deaf education is held in Namibia



“The joint projects undertaken by ICEIDA and the Ministry of Education over the past few years have created such a momentum of change that it will hardly be stopped. Already, responsibilities of many of the project components have been transferred to Namibian organisations and agencies,” said Dr Vilhjalmur Wiium ICEIDA's Country Director in Namibia at the end of a two days conference in Namibia that was organised to discuss educational matters and employment opportunities of the Deaf. He was asked asked whether progress in the education of the Deaf will stop after the closure of ICEIDA´s office in Namibia at the end of the year.

The conference was a part of a joint project between the Ministry of Education and the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA). The project, which began in 2006, will finish at the end of the year and at the conference progress was reviewed. The main purpose with the conference was to discuss employment opportunities of the Deaf and make recommendations on how to improve and broaden these opportunities.

Dr Wiium addressed the almost 100 conference participants and highlighted some of themain achievements of the project. “I told conference participants about the Deaf learners that have gone on past Grade 10 studying in a mainstream school with the assistance of interpreters. In the past, Deaf learners could not do that because the special schools for the Deaf do not offer Grades 11 and 12,” Dr Wiium says. “In addition, close to 40 Namibians are currently studying towards their teacher's degree with Namibian Sign Language (NSL) as a minor subject. That means that in the beginning of 2012 Namibia will have teachers that know NSL and have some understanding of Deaf culture when they start teaching Deaf learners. This will be a giant step in the education of the Deaf.”