The Lancashire Telegraph reports that a deaf teacher is calling for Parliament to recognise British Sign Language as a minority language before Brexit.
Although deaf people who use BSL as a means of communication are entitled to an interpreter under disability and equality laws, there is no requirement for that person to be a registered qualified interpreter.
Ayesha Gavin, who runs her own business Ayesha Communications from Weir, said: “This means that a person who has Level 2 BSL can be used as an interpreter.
“Imagine if you were English in a foreign hospital and you were assigned someone who only had a GCSE in your native language, would they be deemed competent enough to translate for a patient?”
“I have just finished teaching nine students to NVQ Level 6 in BSL, that is the equivalent of a degree. As part of their studies the students had to look at deaf issues with Brexit being one.
“The European Parliament asked each member state to recognise their country’s sign language, Britain has not done so but Scotland did in 2015.
“In the UK there are 150,000 people who use British Sign Language, around a similar amount use Welsh Gaelic, that is accepted as a minority language but BSL isn’t.”
Her next challenge is to become an external verifier so she will be able to assess at degree level.
Should all school children be taught basic sign language? Does your school already teach it? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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