KIT staff learn Kiri Sign Language for students during COVID-19 school closure

Staff at KIT learning Kiri Sign Language to support students who are Deaf and/or hard of hearing during COVID-19 school closure

Twenty-one staff from the Kiribati Institute of Technology (KIT) have participated in four weeks of Kiri Sign Language training delivered by the Kiribati Deaf Association (KDA).

The training began at the Betio campus during the temporary Government closure of schools for students in Kiribati due to COVID-19. Staff from Administration, Student Support Services (SSS), Employment Support Services (ESS), Business, English and Construction, have been learning the Kiri Sign alphabets, numbers, and daily conversation words.

KIT is supported by the Australian Government funded Kiribati Facility, which encompasses the Skills for Employment Program, to deliver inclusive skills training.

KIT offers training for people with disability to study in mainstream courses. This has seen a number of students, some of whom are Deaf and/or hard of hearing, transition from the Kiribati School and Center for Children with Special Needs (KSCCSN) and King George V and Elaine Bernacchi School (KGV/EBS) to study at KIT. KIT now has 3 students who are Deaf and/or hard of hearing undertaking training in English Certificate I and 1 student in Construction Certificate II.

With an increase in the number of students who are Deaf and/or hard of hearing at KIT, it was decided that it would benefit the community for a broader range of staff members to learn Kiri Sign Language. Students and staff are already noticing the difference;

“It was just the second week of training and I had already communicated with my deaf students” said Mr. Ioran Teeta, English Certificate I Lecturer.

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