An African Deaf University is to be constructed in Ghana to simplify education and communication in sign language on the continent.
The University, which will be the first of its kind in Africa is expected to be operational in about two years. It will be situated on the Techiman campus of the Valley View University in the Brong Ahafo region.
The former president of the European Union for the Deaf, Jean-Francois Labes, made the disclosure during a courtesy call on the management of Excellence in Broadcasting Network (EIB) – operators of Starr 103.5 FM and a host of other media houses.
He said the University will bridge the gap between the hearing and the hearing impaired as far as “education is concerned.”
According to him, the African Deaf University will run as a mainstream university which will have faculties such as data processing, business, law and medicine as well as vocational departments among others. The University will be open to all deaf students in Africa.
J. F. Labes, who communicates in the sign language, told Starrfmonline.com he keyed into the idea after officials of Mieux Vivre Foundation mooted it to him since he had helped establish schools for the deaf in France – his home country – and in Morocco.
He was full of praise for the “exceptional” Pro-Vice Chancellor of Valley View University Prof. Robert Osei-Bonsu, who immediately offered a 50-acre space to construct the University for the Deaf. He stressed that the university is going to be autonomous, despite being on the campus of Valley View University.
“I’m so impressed that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),” J. F. Labes, who is also the president of Unisda said. “We chose Ghana because it is a stable country and peaceful since it is the first in sub-Saharan Africa to attain independence.”
He announced that Ghana will become the second in the world to host such facility after America’s Gallaudet University in Washington.
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A sponsors’ gathering is expected to be held in September in Ghana to appeal for funds for the ground-breaking initiative. Stakeholders including MPs, officials in the education sector, office of the president, and other foreign dignitaries are scheduled to grace the occasion.
“We want to make sure that everyone including the deaf will have equal access to education. Persons with hearing impairments are more in Africa and in Ghana alone they make up 7% of the population. There is the need for education for those people hence our resolve to come up with the University,” he noted.
He noted that all stakeholders including the schools of the deaf in Ghana, national association of the deaf have all been involved in the project.
Accompanying J. F. Labes to EIB Network were officials of Evanmike Multipurpose Company Limited – the facilitators of the programme with Aaron N’Kiambi-Yavanga, Akouate Fianou, the secretary general and vice president respectively of Mieux Vivre Foundation and Sara Minneboo, the sign language interpreter.