Today's Labour News

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newsBusiness Insider reports that the government and other employers with front-line staff who deal with deaf people could by next week be obliged to provide at least some training in South African Sign Language to large swathes of staff.  

On Friday, the Pan South African Language Board gazetted a draft South African Sign Language Charter.  The document, it says, "applies to all segments of the South African society" and "creates obligations" to protect the linguistic rights of the deaf community.  The document will become final if it receives no objections by Friday, 11 October.  "[South African Sign Language] awareness and training should be mandatory to all staff members in the employ of government including municipalities, non-governmental organisations or in the private sector," one clause reads.  Front facing/and front-line employees at entities such as banks, hospitals, and public transport providers will have to receive ongoing training that includes sensitisation to the needs of deaf people.  More advanced training in sign language will be required for staff "who provide essential and support services and deal more frequently with Deaf people, for example social workers, police officers".  That level of training would require students to be capable of holding a sustained, complex conversation in sign language.  Courses to achieve such proficiency cost in the region of R6,000 per person and take around 240 hours to complete, or about a month and a half if evenly spread over workdays.  

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Phillip de Wet at Business Insider


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