Expert advocates sign language interpreting course in tertiary institutions

The  national president, Educational  Sign Language  Interpreters  Association of Nigeria (ESLIAN),  Mr Oladipupo  Omobosola  has  urged  education policy makers and education administrators in tertiary institutions in the country to consider the inclusion of Sign  Language Interpreting as a course  in the curriculum of Nigerian universities  from the undergraduate level to the doctoral degree.

He also suggested that colleges of education in the county should include the course in their curriculum as well.

The president  gave this advice at the  3rd Biennial  International Conference organised  by the association on the  theme ‘Professional Preparation and Conduct for Quality Interpreting  Service Delivery in Inclusive  education for the Deaf,’  held recently at the  Federal College of Education, Special, Oyo.

He lamented the non-inclusion of such course in the curiculum of any tertiary institution in the country to train people as professional sign language interpreters, saying the current sign language interpreters acquire the skills from deaf education.

His words:  “In advanced countries of the world, sign language interpreting is a full-fledged course of study from undergraduate to doctorate degree level. In this case, there is nothing wrong for us as a country to borrow a leaf from any of the foreign institutions by adopting their curriculum, domesticate it in accordance with the reality of the Nigerian situation.

“This is what we have been clamouring for over the years that our universities should run a degree programme in sign language interpreting.  It is sad to note that we have no local literature books. The situation has made many people to drop the profession. It is high time the university administrators, the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the colleges of education developed a curriculum for sign language interpreting course of study in Nigeria.

“We have the personnel and all its takes to kick-start the course in Nigeria, if only the government would support it with funding.”

Speaking in the same vein, the Oyo State Commissioner for Education Science and Technology, Mr Olasunkanmi  Olaleye, represented by  his  Deputy Director Special Education in the ministry, Mr Sulaiman  Jimoh,  commended the organisers for the theme of the  conference.

He advocated a unified form of sign language that would cut across all local limitations to enable deaf pupils and students in Nigeria to communicate effectively among themselves and their counterparts across the globe.

Professor  Julius  Ademokoya  of the Department of Education,  University of Ibadan, asserted that  sign language  interpreting  was long  overdue as  a course  of study  in Nigerian institutions.

According to him, the emergence of sign language in Nigeria brought about a rapid education development of people with hearing impairment, and also fostered effective communication relationship between them and the general public.

The development, he said, gave persons with hearing impairment a sense of belonging in the society.

His words: “It is high time we developed a well-structured and qualitative sign language education in the university system as a means to upgrade their mental development, or putting them in the right cognitive skill development where they are supposed to be.

“As it is, University of Ibadan will pioneer a course of study in sign language education, at least, at diploma and certificate level s to kick-start the programme, all things being equal. My department will work towards its approval as soon as possible, though it may take a few years for its accomplishment.”

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