Experts make case for sign language interpreting course in tertiary institutions’ curriculum

National president, Educational Sign Language Interpreters Association of Nigeria (ESLIAN),  Oladipupo Omobosola, has urged all the education policymakers and education administrators at tertiary levels in the country to consider the inclusion of Sign Language Interpreting as a course of study in Nigerian university education curriculum from Bachelor level to doctorate degree level. He also suggested that all the colleges of education in the county should inculcate the course into their curriculum as well.

The president gave this advice at the third 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 at the Federal College Of Education, Special, Oyo, recently.

He lamented that there is no course of study that train people to be professional sign language interpreters in any of the tertiary institutions in the country, saying that the skills they acquired were learnt from deaf education.

He said: “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 Nigeria’s 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 drop the profession. It is high time for the university administrators, the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission and the colleges of education to develop 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, Oyo State Commissioner for Education Science and Technology, Mr  Olasunkanmi  Olaleye, ably represented by his Deputy Director Special Education in the Ministry, Mr Sulaiman  Jimoh commended the organizers for the theme of the conference. He advocated a unified form of sign language that would cut across all the local limitations to enable deaf pupils and students in Nigeria to communicate effectively among themselves and also among their counterparts across the globe.

Professor Julius Ademokoya of the Department of Education, University of Ibadan, asserted that  Sign Language  Interpreting was long overdue to be a course of study in Nigerian institutions.

According to him, the emergence of sign language in Nigeria brought about a rapid education development among people with hearing impairment, as it has also fostered an effective communication relationship between them and the general public. The development, he said,   gave the persons with hearing disability a sense of belonging in the society.

He said: “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 suppose to be. As it is the 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 in my university as soon as possible, though it may take a few years for its accomplishment”.


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