Students with hearing impairments have petitioned Parliament asking the Legislative institution to ensure Government constructs more schools for across the country. The students, through their association, Uganda National Association of Deaf (UNAD), handed over their petition to Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah together with Initiative for Social Economic Rights (ISER) where they requested Parliament to prevail over the Ministry of Education and Sports to increase the number of schools for the deaf across the country, as the current number of schools of the Deaf have pushed them out of the education sector.
Musa Mugoya, Programmes officer ISER revealed that at the moment, Uganda only has 11 schools that focus solely on the provision of education to deaf students. Of these, six are government and five are private and these schools are further complemented by 45 deaf units which are attached to mainstream primary schools.
He said that these schools, compared to the need, are not sufficient to absorb all the Deaf children in Uganda, which has forced some students to drop out of schools due to the communication barrier with teachers.
Now, the petitioners want Parliament, to compel the Ministry of Education and the National Curriculum Development Center to have sign language incorporated as a subject in the secondary school curriculum just like other languages. Mugoya stated the plight of students having few schools is further worsened by the delay by Government to send funds to run the Government facilities.
He explained: “More Special Needs schools are needed because this is a critical stage for language development. The situation is worse at Secondary level, there are only three Deaf Schools in the entire country in Mbale, Lira, and Wakiso and they are also complemented by one private school in Luwero district which has a special wing for the deaf and four other schools. We know that all these are unable to accommodate all primary school leavers at secondary level.”
Deputy Speaker vowed to make sure he discusses the matter with Persons With Disabilities MPs and forge a way on how the situation can be improved. Oulanyah said: “I think it is important we begin this discussion more vigorously and help our people, who are actually our responsibility.”