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Deaf School needed to unlock full potential of Deaf students – McIntosh

Managing Director and Founder of the Deaf Association of Guyana Sabine McIntosh (Photo: MOE)

The Deaf Association of Guyana wants the government to build a school for the Deaf to reach their full potential in an education structure that is explicitly catered to them.

Managing Director and Founder of the Deaf Association of Guyana Sabine McIntosh has urged that more can be done to improve the quality of education provided to Deaf students in Guyana.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand met with members of the Deaf Association of Guyana in June, where they discussed key areas for the enhancement of education delivery to pupils who are Deaf.

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand (Photo: MOE)

At this time, the Minister assured that the Ministry is working to ensure there is inclusive education delivery and the necessary resources are made available.

But McIntosh recommends that Guyana builds its own school specifically for Deaf students like the ones they have in other countries.

“But you need this one place, this one all Deaf school to set benchmarks in Deaf education, as a training ground to do research, and just to draw attention to what Deaf people can achieve in a Deaf environment once they’re not in a ‘Youth with a disability’ lens where very little is expected of them.”

The Tuschen Deaf Academy was Guyana’s only school specifically for Deaf students. It had no building and was run from the side of Azim Bacchus’s home. This school now operates in a reduced capacity.

Deaf students in Guyana are currently taught through Deaf classrooms in Special Schools for children with a wide range of disabilities. McIntosh says these schools often cannot offer Deaf students the attention they need.

“It may happen that a teacher who teaches maybe autistic children would be transferred to the Deaf classroom with no particular knowledge in sign language. These things happen, and it’s unfortunate, and it just isn’t working for the Deaf. There’s a lot of potential amongst the Deaf, and we want to bring it out, and I know the Minister (of Education) would like to see that.”

She envisions this Deaf school to provide not only the academic curriculum but also pre-vocational training for persons gifted in other areas so they can still learn skills that will allow them to become contributing members of society.

But McIntosh says this is not possible in the current setup; “We have done some work in Region 9. We visited a number of 12 villages, and we held community meetings. And, well, for all of them, this was first time that anybody showed interest in Deaf community members. The experiences in some places, they went to school for a couple of days and never went back again because of bullying and all sorts of things.”


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