Belgium Campus is the first higher education institution in the country to offer a dedicated Bachelor’s degree and IT diploma for deaf students. Pictured are the first six deaf students to graduate with their Bachelor of Information Technology degrees. Photo: Supplied

Belgium Campus iTversity welcomes recognition of SA Sign Language as 12th official language

Belgium Campus iTversity welcomes the recognition of South African Sign Language (SASL) as the 12th official language in the country.

Campus’ Chief Executive Education, Dr Jannie Zaaiman explains that Belgium Campus endorses the adoption of the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill (B1 – 2023) to amend section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, to make SASL the 12th official language of the country.

“Belgium Campus believes everyone should receive an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and ambitions. The institution makes these courses accessible to deaf students by providing SASL interpreters throughout each course and limiting the class sizes to ensure each student gets dedicated time and attention,” he says.

Deaf students are a focus of Belgium Campus and it recently graduated six deaf students in its Bachelor of Information Technology programme. Zaaiman says that Belgium Campus began work with deaf students some years back to promote the rights of people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

“The recognition of the SASL as the 12th official language is a major step forward for deaf students. It implies that for teaching and learning purposes, the language will be allocated equitable resources, thereby levelling the playing field,” Zaaiman says. He notes that Belgium Campus is also currently developing a technical deaf dictionary – which will further open the doors to deaf students entering the IT economy.

Belgium Campus iTversity was established in 1999 to address South Africa’s widening skills gap and to ensure that all graduates would be employable in an evolving economic environment, “by nurturing the IT industry’s next great minds”.

Its goal is one of ensuring that all graduates – whether with a hearing disability or otherwise – would be employable in an evolving economic environment. The goal was to promote innovation, forward-thinking and aspirations in students to shape the future of society.

“We are the first higher education institution in the country to offer a dedicated Bachelor’s degree and IT diploma for deaf students.”

For 23 years, Belgium Campus iTversity has contributed to the growth of the South African economy by providing well-rounded graduates whose knowledge, skills and attitudes make them future-fit and immediately employable. It has been affording deaf students the opportunity to pursue IT qualifications since 2015, at which time the institution only had eight deaf students. The institution’s deaf community continues to grow and today it is proud to have more than 30 deaf students pursuing qualifications.

“We have also made provision to allow students with other disabilities, long-term medical conditions, or special needs to complete their IT studies with us. This allows us to breathe life into the tremendous talents and business concepts of often marginalised groups within society.

“Our success stems from our adoption of a proactive Participative Development Model of Education. It considers the needs of all stakeholders (students, industry, academia, government and society), resulting in demand-driven, student-centred and business-focused higher learning.”

About Belgium Campus iTversity NPC

Belgium Campus is a South Africa-based pioneering iTversity in South Africa that helps raise the bar in private education in the ICT industry. Its focus is on developing leading qualifications and maintaining impeccable academic standards to provide students with the foundations necessary to excel in the information technology industry.