Telecommunication firms will now require sign language interpretation services to ensure sufficient service delivery to Deaf persons.
This is according to the Kenyan Sign Language Bill approved by Senate last year and awaiting approval by the parliament.
The Bill was to see sign language being taught in schools thus making it the third national language after Kiswahili and English.
The Bill was also seeking to ensure that deaf learners are given the same opportunities as all other learners so as to be productive members of the society.
” The principal objective of this Bill is to provide for the use of sign language in judicial proceedings, schools and public institutions to ensure that deaf learners are given the same opportunities as all other learners to be productive members of the society,” a part of the Bill stated.
Now, if the Parliament approves the Bill into law, which is sponsored by nominated MP Umulkher Harun Mohamed, Telecommunication service providers will be tasked to provide sign language interpretation to make their products accessible to the deaf.
”Telecommunication service providers shall make their services accessible to the deaf, and deafblind community through the establishment and provision of relay services, including text relay, video relay, and communication facilitators for the deaf or deafblind’,the Bill states.
The Bill has many obligations to different entities which include:
All health service providers will be required to provide Kenyan Sign Language Interpretation at no costs to ensure that the deaf receive quality health care services.
The Cabinet Secretary Education will be responsible for making sure that there are enough educational placements offering Kenyan Sign Language training for the deaf children.
The Judiciary will be required to provide a sign language interpreter in legal proceedings. This is to be done without any costs to any of the parties if any of the parties to the proceedings cannot hear or understand the language of the court.
The television stations will be tasked to provide closed captioning, transcripts, and programmes on all content to make the information accessible to the deaf a move already adopted by signs television.
They will also provide a Kenyan Sign Language inset covering at least one- third of the size of the television screen in all newscasts, educational and national programmes.
BY MARGARET MUGO