Is Signing Exact English the way to go for Filipino Deaf Education?
I got hold of an official letter of Deaf Advocate Jose Sales to Dr. Patricia Licuana, Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education. It’s about his reaction regarding the ruling of the Department of Education (DepED)officially “declaring Signing Exact English as the official language to be used in deaf education.” Here is the complete letter:
July 22, 2011
Dr. Patricia B. Licuana, Ph.d
U.P. Diliman, Quezon City
Dear Dr. Licuana,
I just learned that DepED publicly declared that “SIGNING EXACT ENGLISH(SEE) IS THE OFFICIAL SIGN LANGUAGE TO BE USED IN DEAF EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF SPED INSTRUCTORS AND THAT THE METHOD OF INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE BOTH ORAL AND SEE”.
Does DepED properly aware of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) including their rights to proper education? UNCRPD clearly states that:
– UNCRPD article 3.h respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities
– UNCRPD art. 24.3.b Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the Deaf community.
– UNCRPD art. 24.3.c Ensuring that the education of persons and in particular children, who are blind, deaf or deafblind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual and in the environments which maximize academic and social development.
It is really against the Deaf rights as mentioned above and DepED’s ignorance of the UNCRPD.
You can’t force a Deaf children to learn in a way hearing people do because of their inability to hear. They should be taught in a manner that they could easily understand. You can’t also force them to speak if they could hardly hear anything to emulate. It is the SPED instructors/educators to adapt to the Deaf’s needs so that Deaf children/student could learn easily and conveniently. SPED instructors/educators should be properly educated and trained to effectively teach Deaf children/students.
It is a shame to hear from majority of Deaf who finished schooling that they only learned at below average – one of their main reason is the laxity and inexperienced of their teachers/educators to teach them effectively especially in FSL signing. Teachers usually give them seat work always in the excuse that they already “tired” signing SEE .
One example that I observed in our church in the presence of Deaf people with interpreter in front, the DEAF tends to become sleepy because of the interpreter’s “boring” SEE signing. But when an interpreter who are skilled in FSL signing is assigned, the Deaf people become attentive and could easily understand the message from preacher. This is what I also experienced myself as I am a Deaf and also one in the group.
I appreciate that future meetings of DepED of this nature must be transparent and adhere to the provisions of UNCRPD, Magna Carta for PWDs and others . May I also suggests that PFD and PDRC and other movers for effective Deaf education be included in meetings and discussions of this nature as mentioned in DepED PWD’s Education Provision Guidelines 2.3.1 which states that qualified PWDs should participate and/or be consulted in the planning and formulation stages of policies and programs.
Thank you very much.
Jose E. Sales
“Because there is (also) life after Deaf”
President – Metrowide Org. of the Deaf (MODE)
Outgoing Exec. Board – Phil. Federation of the Deaf (PFD)
Staff and member of Katipunan ng Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas (KAMPI)
Deaf Preacher – Word of Hope Church – Deaf Ministry
This is not good… not so good at all! Hearing people have been manipulating deaf education since the establishment of Philippine School for the Deaf in 1907, more than a century ago! Look what they’ve accomplished! Now, even if we are already bounded by UNCRPD, they are still defiant and want to do things on their own without consulting the deaf. This is truly sickening. 😦