Sign language to be recognised as a language in Sri Lanka - SB


Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage Minister S. B. Dissanayake yesterday said that he has submitted a draft Bill to cabinet to obtain legal recognition for Sign Language as a language in Sri Lanka.

Minister Dissanayake said that a Bill had been submitted at the last cabinet meeting and it would soon be granted approval.

"In the meantime we have initiated a programme to train 50 persons in Sign Language at the School of Social Services. They would be given training in modern Sign Language. We will enrol another batch of 50 students soon. At the end of the training they could become the next batch of trainers.

"There are around 400,000 persons in the country who use some form of sign language for communication. At the moment there are less than 10 persons who are proficient in Sign Language known all over the world. We want to teach that language and make the deaf and children with special needs proficient in it so that they could pursue their education. There is a university in the US which uses only Sign Language," the Minister said. The National Policy on Disability for Sri Lanka acknowledges Sign Language as the language of communication for all individuals suffering from a severe loss of hearing or deafness.

The establishment of Sign Language legally will enable the deaf children of Sri Lanka to have the right to an equal education. The Minister stated that the government will take steps to ensure all deaf children will be provided the means to an equal education.

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