Home History books 17 deaf students will sign their names in the history books

17 deaf students will sign their names in the history books


Mbongozi boarding school where deaf students are housed in Mpumalanga

  • Seventeen deaf students will take their sign language exams in Mpumalanga.
  • Pupils study language as a subject from the first year.
  • The provincial department of education says it hopes for 100% success in the matter.

Seventeen grade 12 students from Mpumalanga will put their names in the province’s history books when they take their sign language exams.

The group will become the first in the province to take the exam, scheduled for November 10 at Bukhosibetfu Inclusive School in Nkomazi.

Students, from all over Mpumalanga, will watch the questions put to them using sign language through their screens and respond accordingly.

“We’re aiming for a 100% pass mark in sign language,” provincial education spokesperson Jasper Zwane told News24.

News24 visited the school on Saturday, where the boys and girls – all of whom are deaf – chatted with each other using sign language at their boarding school.

Some were playing football while others were chasing each other laughing.

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“They’re in a jovial mood. They’re ready for their final hurdle,” Zwane said.

“We have specialists who trained them from the 1st year to prepare for this day. See them [this] happy means that our children are in a good mood.

“We are excited as a province. We hope this [motivates] other children with disabilities to continue their education.

Sign language is not an easy subject, Zwane said, describing it like any other subject taught in South African schools. He was officially introduced as a subject in the province 12 years ago.

He explained that a student does not need to have a hearing or speech impairment to follow the subject.

“By mastering sign language perfectly, our children will have the opportunity to communicate with the world,” Zwane said.

“We encourage people close or related to our students who use sign language to learn the language. This would help them understand and communicate with anyone using the language.


Zwane said the department is doing everything in its power to ensure the needs of students with disabilities are accommodated.

“All children with disabilities, students with albinism and those with physical disabilities will be awarded with scholarships if they pass their school leaving exams,” he said.

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“We have specialist educators who take care of our children from the first year. We ensure that they are fully prepared to participate in each examination. We have full-time nurses and therapists who take care of our students,” Zwane explained.

Pupils are accommodated in a boarding school close to their school.

“We have problems with families who refuse to bring their children to us to learn. Some families think that having a child with difficulties is a curse. Some children are hidden away by their families.

“We want every child in Mpumalanga to be included, loved, welcomed and treated with the dignity they deserve,” Zwane said.

In Mpumalanga, 71,582 full-time students are expected to take the 2022 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination.

Eight schools across the province will see their first batch of students take their final exams.