Sithatshisiwe Vuma, Sunday News Reporter
THE Midlands State University’s Language Institute is translating various national documents to all the country’s 16 official languages including sign language as Government pursues multi-lingualism as enshrined in the Constitution.
MSU has already started translating important documents into sign language including the Constitution, Covid-19 booklets and National Development Strategy 1. Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira told Parliament on Wednesday that deliberate efforts have been undertaken by the Government after President Mnangagwa directed the setting up of the Language Institute at Midlands State University.
“Through this institute, MSU is translating important documents into sign language including the Constitution, Covid-19 booklets and National Development Strategy 1. They are going on to translate all technical books also at this national language institute.”
He said the ministry was also supporting development of learning materials for the disabled.
“Universities have an enrolment of 356 students with disabilities inclusive of those who are visually impaired, physically challenged, hearing impaired, mentally challenged as well as those with albinism and speech impairment.
Seven deaf students have now graduated; four from University of Zimbabwe and three from Great Zimbabwe University. However, 24 students are currently in stream; 10 are at Women’s University, 13 are at the University of Zimbabwe and we have one at Africa University,” said Professor Murwira.
Government policy states that all people irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social, original, property, birth as well as person with disabilities, migrants, indigenous people and children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations or other status, have access to inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.
Prof Murwira said MSU was also providing short courses in sign language and has appointed specialised lecturers in sign language. Staff at Clay Bank Hospital in Gweru have been trained in sign language specifically to cater to the deaf.
“The University of Zimbabwe and Great Zimbabwe University are also providing courses for the deaf. Gwanda and Lupane State Universities are currently working on modalities to teach the deaf. Other private universities are also supporting Government efforts to ensure the deaf attain university education; Reformed Church University in Masvingo, Women’s University in Africa and Africa University,” said Professor Murwira.