Sign Language in Kenya

Sign Language in Kenya, SignIt is Reported hat over 500,000 person use Sign Language in Kenya. Sign Language is more accessible to many Deaf people than spoken languages such as English, Kiswahili. In this Regard the Constitutions of Kenya 2010 has incorporated this language in the constitution. According to the Kenya constitution Sign Language is official Parliamentary Language in Article 120 (1) The official languages of Parliament shall be Kiswahili,English and Kenyan Sign language, and the business of Parliament may be conducted in English, Kiswahili and Kenyan Sign language. This is a positive step in recognizing one of the most significant populace

See Alsos: Braille Education in KEnya

There are different types of deafness distinguished by the different communication abilities. The Congenital Deaf are those that learn sign language as their primary mode of communication when they are born while the Acquired Deaf become deaf after first being able to hear and speak without any form of impairment (Chang, 2014). Also, the Deaf experience different levels of impairment which can be categorized into Deaf people and Hard of hearing people. According to Chang (2014), the Deaf people‟s level of impairment is said to be profound whereby they can only hear sound equivalent to or over 90 decibel (dB) while the Hard of hearing can be mild, moderate or severe with sound between 20 and 40 dB, 41 and 70 dB or 71 and 95 dB respectively. Additionally, Barnett (as cited in Chang, 2014) defines the Deaf people as people with hearing loss who do not benefit from any linguistic information that is transmitted through
sound and can only use sign language as their primary method of communication and Hard of hearing people as people who can receive limited sound linguistic information and use limited speech with lip movements as well as physical sign language as their primary method of
communication. Deafness is an invisible disability that manifests itself in failure by individuals to communicate
(Furth, 1966).

Kenya’s Constitution is known as one of the best in the world and has incorporated a lot about Sign Language in Particular article 54 of 2010 Constitution of Kenya states that (1) A person with any disability is entitled––
(d) to use Sign language, Braille or other appropriate means of
Also Article 7 (3) The State shall––
(a) promote and protect the diversity of language of the people of Kenya; and
(b) promote the development and use of indigenous languages, Kenyan Sign language, Braille and other
communication formats and technologies accessible to persons with disabilities.

So The state is mandated to make sure that Sign Language is taught in Schools and developed. And also Although The Government has no powers to compel media houses to introduce sign language, the Major Television stations in Kenya have sign Language in their news. all the major broadcasters have already adhered to the requirement to have sign language interpreters as a result of controversial media bill in Kenya to promote access to information for persons with disability.
Media bill, Sign Language in Kenya

Kenya Sign Language Interpreters Association was set up by a group of 20 local interpreters after a training by the first Deaf Education US Peace Corps Volunteers in September 2000. Prior to this training there were several short term trainings conducted by KSLRP/KNAD dating back to 1980s and 1990s. [KSLIA] is an indigenous initiative evolving and strengthening the face of the Interpreting profession in Kenya. [KSLIA hopes to improve and elevate the standards of Interpreting in Kenya

KEnya is in the right path towards increasing the Sign langage penetration in the country.

Institutions offering Sign Langauge in KEnya

1. COFA Institute of Technology, Ongata Rongai
COFA Institute of Technology is a leading institution based in Ongata Rongai and offering a wide range of certificate and diploma programmes to its students
Course Content:
Module I
– Introduction to KSL.
– Deaf Community and Culture.
– Finger Spelling
Module II
– Composition of a Sign.
– SL Acquisition and Sentence patterns.
– Ethics.

Entry requirements: Minimum KCSE grade of D (Plain).
Course duration: 6 months.
Fees payable: Ksh. 7,500 per module.

2. Thika Technical Training Institute, Thika

Basic Kenyan Sign Language
Entry requirements : D plain in KCSE and above
Mode of Training: Evenings from 5.30 – 7.30pm Monday to Thursday
Course duration : 3 Months (or 100 Hrs)
Association: Sign Language Resource Centre (0721673641)

3.St. Joseph’s Technical Institute for the Deaf, Bondo
Basic Kenyan Sign Language
Entry requirements : D plain in KCSE and above

4. Machakos Teachers Training College, Machakos
Machakos Teachers Training College was started in 1958 purposely to train female students but later male students joined in. Since its inception, the institution has been offering T3, T2, T1 and T1- up-grader teacher training courses. In addition,the college caters for students with special needs like visual,hearing and physical impairment. Currently the college trains P1 teachers only. Machakos Teachers Training College has trained many Primary School teachers and is now the only one training students with hearing, visual and physical impairments.

5. A.C.K. Language and Orientation School, Nairobi

ACK Language and Orientation school is the oldest and most authentic Language school in Kenya.

The school was established in 1965 by the church Missionary Society (CMS), of England for the benefit of denominations, voluntary agencies or bodies and individual persons wishing to take advantages of its facilities for language study, cross cultural training and all suitable form of orientation.

ACK language and orientation school is a language school superbly located in the center of Nairobi

6. Kenya Institute of Development Studies, Nairobi

Kenya Institute Of Development Studies Is A Middle Level Training Institution Founded On Strong Belief Of Capacity Through Imparting Practice Knowledge And Skills To Spur Economic And Social Growth. The Institution Evolved From Social Economic Consult, A Consultancy That Has Been Carrying Out Research On Developing Issues.

7. Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kasarani
Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) was established in February 1986.The Institute is run by a council appointed by the Ministry of Education.The institute offers the following programs at both certificate and diploma level:
(a) Consultants in Special Needs Education
(b) Community Based Rehabilitation Officers.
(c) Sign Language Interpreters
(d) Braille Transcribers

KISE As it popularly knows has this Vision To be a regional center of excellence in special needs education and related services. A mission to provide high quality world class training in Special Needs education and produce educational materials and assistive devices for persons with disability through excellent services, professionalism, and integrity. and Philosophy In pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and life long education for persons with special needs and disabilities to lead self-reliant lives

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5 thoughts on “Sign Language in Kenya

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