JIS: More than 400 deaf students in primary and secondary schools are to benefit from a US$2.7-million project aimed at increasing their literacy levels.

 

The three-year Partnership for Literacy Enhancement for the Deaf Project is being implemented by the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

 

Launched on Wednesday (September 13) at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, the three-year initiative is being rolled out in nine schools operated by the major service providers of deaf education in Jamaica.

 

These are the Danny Williams School for the Deaf; Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf; and Excelsior Primary School Integrated Unit for the Deaf in Kingston; Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf – Kingston and Mandeville campuses; Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf, St. James; May Pen Unit for the Deaf, Clarendon; Port Antonio Unit for the Deaf, Portland; and St.

 

Christopher’s School for the Deaf, St. Ann.

 

A key objective is to facilitate the development of a Jamaican Sign Language (JSL) curriculum that will be incorporated in schools for the deaf by 2020.

 

Keynote speaker at the event, State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, commended the initiative, which, he said, will ensure greater inclusiveness for the deaf community.

 

He hailed the effort to have JSL as a subject in schools across the deaf community by 2020.

 

“To achieve that means that you will have developed a curriculum that can be used in our schools for our hearing-impaired children and can be shared across all our schools. From our perspective at the Ministry, that is critical if we are to ensure that no child is left behind,” he said.

 

Acting Mission Director for USAID, Rebecca Robinson, who brought greetings at the event, noted that the project will assist in developing the capacity of the hearing-impaired community, thereby enabling them to make a meaningful contribution to national development.

 

“The evidence suggests that the deaf has been an underserved population with limited educational opportunities. The timing of this project is impeccable, as it seeks to address the factors that affect language development of deaf students and build a strong foundation for literacy and academic success. Also, it helps to enhance the skills of students, parents and teachers in JSL,” she said.

 

The Partnership for Literacy Enhancement for the Deaf Project got under way in April 2017 and will run until April 2020.

 

In addition to increasing the literacy levels of students and establishing a JSL curriculum, the project will also build the capacity of teachers and empower parents to effectively communicate with their children.

 

One hundred educators of the deaf and 27 deaf culture facilitators/teacher aides serving the deaf community will receive support, and the project will also provide employment opportunities for deaf persons as tutors.

 

The USAID provided a US$2.4-million grant for the undertaking with the remaining US$300,000 contributed by the JAD and its stakeholders.

 

Operating since 1938, the JAD is a non-governmental organisation, which empowers deaf Jamaicans to become effective nation builders.

 

Persons interested in learning JSL can contact the JAD at 970-1778/9, or visit www.jamdeaf.org.jm for more information.

 

CAPTION: State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, the Hon. Floyd Green (right), spells his name in sign language at the launch of the Partnership for Literacy Enhancement for the Deaf Project on Wednesday (September 13) at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston. Looking on are Chairman of the Executive Board of the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD), Christopher Williams; and Acting Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Rebecca Robinson.