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94% of Deaf Zimbabwe Children Out of School

FILE - A four-year-old deaf student sits inside her classroom in the specialized deaf unit program at the Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Center in Kenya's capital Nairobi.

Deaf Zimbabwe says more than 94 percent of deaf children in Zimbabwe are out school due to lack of qualified teachers and resources.

A representative of the organization, Barbra Nyangairi, told the National Assembly’s education committee Wednesday that only a small fraction of the 85,965 deaf children are attending primary and secondary schools in the country.

Nyangairi said the country does not have specialized schools for deaf children and those in school are being taught by teachers who are not qualified to teach sign language.

This, she said, is causing problems for the children. Nyangairi appealed to the education ministry to recruit sign language teachers and also ensure the teaching of sign language is mandatory as it is now one of the 16 official languages in Zimbabwe.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s policy planning director, Peter Muzavazi, admitted the shortcomings in the system.

He said the ministry is working on rectifying the problem next year.

Muzavazi said under the new education policy, to be implemented starting next year, the government will ensure that every school in the country has a teacher for children with disabilities.

Zimbabwe has 8,500 schools.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told parliament that the government will support 300,000 vulnerable families with agricultural inputs this season.

He said the Social Welfare Department will select beneficiaries.

In another debate on the welfare of war veterans, lawmakers asked Deputy War Veterans Minister, Tshinga Dube, to use radio stations like the Voice of America’s Studio 7 to reach out to the former liberation war fighters as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's signal is weak and cannot be accessed from all parts of the country.

Dube said there were many ways of disseminating information in Zimbabwe, which includes radio and television stations as well as newspapers.

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