The Ministry of Education has disclosed that it is in the process of developing the first ever Sign Language Training Manual to guide the training of special needs teachers in the country.
Chief Education Officer responsible for Inclusive Education Department, Peter Msendema, made the remarks on the sidelines of the National Spelling Bee Competition held at Embangweni School for Deaf Children on Friday.
The Malawi National Association for the Deaf (MANAD) organized the competition with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision International, Australian Government and technical support from eKitabu and Malawi National Spelling Bee in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Msendema said the development of the manual is one of the activities the ministry has set aside to improve the quality of special needs teachers as the country strives to enhance access to education for learners with special needs.
"We are at an advanced stage in developing a manual that colleges will be using in training teachers. And we are very excited to have this tool as the ministry," he narrated.
Commenting on the competition, Msendema hailed MANAD and its partners for undertaking the initiative, which he said would trigger hardworking spirit among learners with special needs.
He assured the association of his department's commitment to closely working with it to improve and increase access to education by children with disabilities.
In his remarks, MANAD Board Chairperson Robert Mbendera lamented the gaps existing in the sign language sector, stressing the need for the government and its development partners to strengthen and promote sign language at every level.
Mbendera said the spelling bee competition is just one of the initiatives his organization has undertaken to help learners to improve their literacy prowess.
The first ever spelling bee competition targeting learners with special needs drew participation from six schools, which included Mua, Maryview, Embangweni, Bandawe, Mountview and Karonga Schools for the Deaf.
Each school sent three contestants, translating into 18 learners who were from standards 2 to 4.
Malawi is the second country in Africa to conduct such a competition after Botswana, which conducted its first in 2019.