Opening theme of the World Congress: Deaf Education

World Federation of the Deaf
Organizing Committee of the Deaf Federation of South Africa

For immediate release

World Federation of the Deaf and the Organizing Committee of the World Congress held their first common press conference on 19th of July on the theme of Deaf education. A similar press conference will be held every day of the congress at 4-4.30PM in room 11 of the ICC.

According to the WFD survey on seven regions (Deaf People and Human Rights, 2009) deaf children’s accessibility to education in general and especially to bilingual education is widely neglected. Therefore, in its four year action plan (2011-2015) adopted by the General Assembly on 17 July, the WFD strongly emphasizes the importance of quality and accessible deaf education and also seeks funding on conducting a survey on that subject. Moreover, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will continue to be an important advocacy tool, especially in countries where ratification has taken place, such as in Brazil where the government threatened to close all deaf schools providing education in sign language. The WFD assists its ordinary members by issuing support letters, and consult its expert group on education when specified support is needed on e.g. how to develop education policies.

In her plenary presentation Dr. Kristina Svartholm expressed her concern on the future of sign languages and deaf education in a situation where many deaf children, especially in Western countries, get cochlear implants. The WFD needs to ensure that in the future deaf children will have adequate sign language skills also as a second or third language.

All ordinary members, media representatives and congress participants who wish to meet with the WFD President Mr. Jokinen, newly elected President Mr. Allen, or any of the Board members,
please contact Mr. Kasper Bergmann +45 3142 2108.

For further information, contact Dr. Liisa Kauppinen, +358 40 588 4774.