Devio Early Childhood Institute is set to hold a three-day forum to promote inclusive language opportunities for all children.
The institute provides innovative and capacity building training programmes to upcoming and existing early childhood educators so they can support children's holistic development and learning, especially in their early years.
The forum which will see various renowned educators speaking on diverse topics will take place from Monday, November 23 to Wednesday, November 25, 2020, in Accra.
It will be on the theme: “Building a global movement to promote national sign language in the early years”.
According to the Executive Director of the institute, Mrs Lily Kudzro- Akwadei, the early childhood education sector in Ghana, and in other parts of the world is deficient in investment from government and stakeholders.
She added that the sector faces a huge gap of qualified teachers, including inclusive opportunities for all children to thrive, develop their potentials, and have their voices heard.
“For most children living with physical and intellectual disabilities, the future is not promising. That is why stakeholders and educational sectors must wake up to this call of ensuring that both deaf and hearing children around the world are offered equal participation and success in education” she stressed.
Touching on the forum, Mrs Kudzro- Akwadei said the institute is bringing together world leaders and experts in the international inclusive education community for it to brainstorm on promoting National Sign Languages in the early years.
“The institute which is advocating for the use of national sign languages in all early years programs worldwide is hosting this event to educate, inform and share resources with participants to help promote action towards inclusive language opportunities for both deaf and hard of hearing children, especially in the early years where their speech and language skills are being nurtured”, she explained.
Even though sustainable development goal 4 promotes inclusive, equitable, and quality educational opportunities for all children, only 46 countries worldwide recognize their national sign languages according to the 2020 UNESCO Gem Report, and only about 2% of these countries offer sign languages in their national curriculum.
She, therefore, called for the need to collectively take action towards making the world a better place for all children, “We need to collectively take action towards making the world a better place for all children, and ensuring that no child is left behind by first promoting inclusive language opportunities for both deaf and hearing children because the foundation of learning depends hugely on effective communication and comprehension”.
“We are therefore hoping that by 2030, at least 20 countries including Ghana, would have made great progress in the implementation of sign languages in their early years learning frameworks” Mrs Kudzro- Akwadei further stated.
Speakers at the forum apart from Lily Kudzro are Senior Education and Research Specialist at World Learning, Dr Kara Mcbride, Assistant Professor of American Sign Language in Department of Languages at Clemson University, Dr Jody Cripps, International development Consultant, Allen Neece, Malawi National Deaf Association, Gabriel Luzu, and Huawei CBG Global Brand CSR Lead (Huawei Storysign App), Ivo Van den Brand.
Others are Inclusive Education and ECCE Partnership Coordinator at GCE-US and Light for the World, Thomas Sabella, and Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development and Academic Lead for the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF at the University of Edinburgh, William C. Smith.