Access to information and communication are the biggest issues affecting Deaf People in Ghana today. All things being equal, the hearing public must be able to communicate with the Ghanaian Deaf Community. That is hope and dream of every Ghanaian Deaf. It is in this positive light that Hope College, a rising and promising Senior High School has introduced teaching and learning of Ghanaian Sign Language into School Curriculum to help reverse this trend of affairs and break the communication barrier.
Hope College is a private Christian Senior High School located at Gomoa-Fetteh in the Central Region. The initiative was formulated and approved by the College’s Governing Board at its initial meeting on March 2, 2014, and immediately teaching and learning of Ghanaian Sign Language was introduced. As part of the arrangements and preparations, Hope College hired Samuel Kwesi Asare, a Deaf man and pioneer in Deaf Education to teach and lead the Ghanaian Sign Language Teaching Department. Mr. Asare who is a former Librarian and Counsellor at Manpong Senior High School for the Deaf, former President of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) and Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) brings experience to the School.
By far, Hope College has become the first and so far the only private and mainstreamed second circle institution offering teaching and learning of Ghanaian Sign Language. According to the Director of Hope College, there are plans to enrol Deaf students in future. There is a lot of excitement within the entire Hope College Community as the students learn to sign on campus. What is more interesting is that the College’s Governing Board gave a directive for all students to learn the Ghanaian Sign Language, almost the entire faculty staff learn the Ghanaian Sign Language after school hours.
Three years after the introduction of teaching and learning of the Ghanaian Sign Language, Hope College is able to turn majority of its past and present students into fluent Ghanaian Sign Language Signers. It is worth noting that many of such young students are serving the Deaf in their respective Communities when and wherever their services are needed. This positive development will go a long way in helping to reduce the communication gap.
GNAD would like to take this opportunity to encourage other schools-both private and public to emulate Hope College’s fine example of introducing Ghanaian Sign Language into their curriculum. This is the surest steps in encouraging the young, aspiring and energetic students to learn to be fluent in Ghanaian Sign Language to be able to communicate with their fellow Deaf People in the Communities.
GNAD, the umbrella organization of Deaf Persons in the country is grateful for this prospect. Board, members and staff of the Association wish to congratulate the management and staff of Hope College and hope that this laudable ingenuity will go long way to help reduce the communication gap “between the Deaf Community and the general public”. GNAD would like to encourage all the students to take advantage of this impressive initiative.