Deaf Education and Language-Based Curriculum: The Case of the Buea School for the Deaf
The big deaf community at school age in Cameroon is accommodated by more than 30 schools for deaf. Deaf and hearing students follow a common language - based cu rriculum, which aims at developing the speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills of young Cameroonians in both official languages, English and French. Regrettably, the language - based curriculum of Cameroon gives no place to sign language, the tool o f communication of deaf learners. Therefore, the exclusive nature of this curriculum is a serious disadvantage to deaf students. Evidence of this contention is found in their results. Statistics obtained from exams centres reveal that no schools for the de af ever went beyond 20% of pass in official exams. This is not surprising as they are taught like hearing learners. Using the ethnographic approach, we observed class proceedings in the Buea school for the deaf (BSD) during three months. We focused on Form 3, 4, and 5 students who were getting prepared to write the Cameroon General Certificate of Education for Ordinary Level. Regardless of the efforts of teachers and school administrators, deaf students experience reading and writing difficulties in both of ficial languages. The exclusive nature of the curriculum complicates learning because deaf students need an alternative curriculum to develop reading and writing skills through sign language. The concept of linguistic accessibility was also discussed, sinc e Cameroon Sign L anguage (CSL) is not yet well developed and has no official status. Presently, there are more than three sign languages co - existing in Cameroon. // Paper ID 75
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