Non-Verbal Communication: Learning the Kenya Sign Language

Non-Verbal Communication: Learning the Kenya Sign Language

Did you know that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are an estimated 466 million people in the world with disabling hearing loss? That is a significant 5% of the world’s population!! Yes, you read that right. 

In case you are wondering, sign languages refer to visual languages that use hand, facial, and body movements as a means of communication. Just as there are many spoken languages in the world, we have as many as over 135 different sign languages globally. That is amazing, right? Well, some of them include the American Sign Language (ASL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan), British Sign Language (BSL), and our very own Kenya Sign Language (KSL).

Most people believe that sign languages have derived from spoken languages. That is a misconception you will soon learn about upon enrolling for a course in Kenya Sign Language. More specifically, sign languages are independent and natural languages that have undergone evolution over the years, just as any spoken language.

Sign language is mostly used as the main channel of communication for the Deaf or persons hard of hearing. However, sign languages also have a lot to offer for everyone. Check out this list of why sign languages are awesome!

Here are 10 good benefits of learning sign language;

  1. It is a chance to connect with 5% of the world’s population by speaking their language. Get to interact with millions of differently-abled persons.
  2. You will practice expression; this in turn will improve your communication skills.
  3. You can be helpful whenever and wherever needed when interacting with people having a hearing impairment.
  4. You will be able to understand the challenges faced by the deaf. what better way to practice inclusivity and advocating for the agenda of the minority in society?
  5. You can get a job as an interpreter. That doesn’t stop there. You can work in the journalism profession or with institutions that embrace inclusivity. How cool is that?!
  6. Sign languages can be used even when spoken word is physically impossible. For example, while diving under water or when hiking.

  1. Since not many people know how to sign, this knowledge will make you unique. It is time to standout, don’t you agree?
  2. You will improve your spelling skills.
  3. Boost your CV. Signing is a rare competency among professionals in the job market. Be part of that statistics of outstanding professionals.
  4. It’s a beautiful language.

Schools Offering Sign Languages In Kenya

Admission Requirements for KSL

One has to meet the following requirements to study a diploma in sign language at St. Paul’s University:-

KCSE mean grade of C- with at least a C- in English and Kiswahili.

A certificate in Kenya Sign Language (KSL)

A KCSE C- in KSL for a Deaf persons.

The diploma takes 1 year divided into 3 semesters and one is expected to learn about comparative linguistics, Deaf culture and ethics. 

At the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) one can study sign language for health care workers for a 6 month period.

The short course is only offered at Murang’a and Molo campuses and the minimum admission requirement is a certificate in any course. According to their website, the tuition fees is ksh 60500.

Salaries for sign language interpreters

In a past job advertisement by Nyeri County Government, a sign language interpreter vacancy was posted to be in job group K category with a basic monthly salary of ksh 31,000 a commuter allowance of ksh 5,000 and house allowance of ksh 12800. (Ksh 48800 gross pay).

However, sign language interpreters working with NGOs and media houses definitely earn more.

Schools offering sign language

St. Paul’s University.

KMTC – sign language for healthcare workers at Molo and Murang’a campuses.

Maasai Mara University, Narok.

Rifkins Business College, Mombasa.

COFA Institute of Technology Ongata Rongai.

Thika Technical Training Institute.

Machakos Teachers Training College.

ACK Language and Orientation School, Nairobi.

St. Joseph Technical Institute for the Deaf, Bondo.

Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kasarani

Sikri Technical Training Institute for The Blind and Deaf, Oyugis.

Kenya Methodist University, Nakuru.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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