The WISE Awards

Technology-Based Deaf Education

Activity: Technology-Based Deaf Education works to overcome the critical lack of quality education for Deaf children in Pakistan, harnessing digital technologies to transform Deaf education and offer unprecedented access to resources for language development.

Name of the Organization: Family Educational Services Foundation

Headquarter: Karachi, Pakistan

Geographical reach: Pakistan

Number of beneficiaries: more than 50,000

Project Representative: Mr. Richard Geary Horwitz

Websites: http://www.fesf.org.pk/

Technology-Based Deaf Education - WISE Awards 2018

About the Project

Technology-Based Deaf Education works to overcome the critical lack of quality education for deaf children in Pakistan. By harnessing digital technology, the project transforms deaf education and offers unprecedented access to resources for language development and literacy skills to deaf children in Pakistan.

Context and Issue

The literacy rate of Pakistan’s over 1 million deaf children lags far behind that of their hearing peers due to the scarcity of resources in Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) and trained educators in Deaf education. Less than 5% of Pakistan’s deaf children attend school and become literate, with the rate being much lower for deaf girls. Many are socially marginalized, lack sufficient skills for employment or resources to improve their quality of life. The acquisition of language and literacy skills is essential to the personal development, education, and social and economic well-being of deaf children.

The Solution and Impact

FESF’s Deaf Reach Program has been committed to Deaf education in Pakistan since 1995, establishing schools for deaf children from Kindergarten to Grade 12 across six cities. Deaf Reach works to overcome the critical lack of quality education, harnessing digital technologies to transform Deaf education and offer unprecedented access to resources for language development. For deaf children in Pakistan, an underserved silent minority, PSL educational resources tailored to their special needs are pivotal.

FESF developed the first-ever Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) online dictionary with 7,000 words (http://psl.org.pk) which is used nationwide. New PSL content is presently under development in the form of learning tutorials, life skills, stories, and literacy programs – all of which will be available free-of-cost via a learning portal.

Future Developments

Via its TBDE Program, FESF has taken innovative steps to meet the great need for educational resources for deaf children, training and capacity building resources for teachers, and resources for parents to learn to communicate with their children. In addition to an in-depth online Learning Portal, FESF will also disseminate low-cost computer units loaded with digital PSL learning resources to schools and centers working with deaf children across all provinces of Pakistan, and into remote areas.