A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the University of Cape Coast and the Ghana Association of the Deaf (GNAD) to implement the “Sign Language Interpreters Project”.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Head, Department of Educational Psychology and Coordinator, of the Sign Language Interpreting Project, Dr. Irene Vanderpuye, said the signing of the MoU, was to formalise the introduction of “Sign Language Interpreters programme at the Certificate and Diploma levels by UCC.
Content of MoU
Giving a brief description of the content of the MoU, a lecturer at the Department of Educational Psychology, Mr. Gideon Kwesi Obosu, indicated that “the main reason for this project is to establish a programme in Sign Language Interpreting to certify the already existing interpreters on the registry of GNAD who have no academic certificates.” This, he explained that GNAD as a body has been training Sign Interpreters but it had no authority to issue certificates to its students.
Mr. Obosu noted that GNAD, supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), approached UCC for collaboration to begin the programme. This he explained would provide some guiding principles, training and activities to its trainees for certification. He stated, “everything has been successful so far; there have been several discussions and both parties have played their roles very well, just that we have not put documents into formal signing”.
UCC will Partner GNAD for the Project
Welcoming the team, the Dean, Faculty of Educational Foundations, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson, congratulated GNAD for its unwavering commitment to partner UCC for the programme. He said, “I am happy that we have a great team including, Dr Vanderpuye to support this programme because they are specialist in Inclusive Education.”
Prof. Nyarko-Sampson pledged the support of UCC as far as the Sign Language Interpreters Project was concerned. “We hope this programme will help train teachers and students who will give up their best to use Sign Language Interpretation for effective communication,” He reiterated the University’s readiness to run the Sign Language Interpretation programme and called GNAD to support it.
GNAD is Happy to work with UCC
The Director of Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Mr. Juventus Duorinaah, expressed appreciation to UCC for the good working relationship and commitment to ensure the success of the programme. He indicated that DANIDA had agreed to fund the programme for the next three years. “We have good plans towards the project based on the relationship with UCC and GNAD wants to make the University a strong research hub for Sign Language,” he noted. On the sustainability of the programme, he said: “GNAD will engage its Danish partners (DANIDA) to support the continuation of this programme in order to do more research and develop more teaching and learning materials.”
Mr. Duorinaah called for a stronger partnership between UCC and GNAD to project quality Sign Language Training and Education adding that “ UCC will be the first institution to issue an academic certificate on Sign Language Interpretation in West Africa of which we very proud to associate with.” He further stated that “Our target is to make the first phase of the project very successful so that in future, more people will enrol in the programme and learn from UCC.”
Mr. Duorinaah said the Association has projects in four countries – La Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Niger and Mali and they would want to incorporate the training of Sign Language Interpreters as part of the pro. “It is our expectation that in future, we shall have people coming from these countries to study at UCC,” he stated.