DEAF REACH SCHOOLS, COLLEGE & TRAINING CENTERS
A project of FAMILY EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOUNDATION (FESF)
FESF’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for all members of the community, especially those who are disadvantaged. FESF invests in educational development and provides innovative training programs and services, empowering the recipients to gain competency and realize their full potential.
Q: Who are the people working at FESF?
With over 250 staff members, FESF employs a wide range of people. FESF actively recruits those whose passion and skill sets align with our projects and goals.
Q: What inspired the establishment of FESF?
FESF was informally started by like-minded educators in 1984. With aspirations to offer greater services, FESF formed a Not for Profit organization in 2002. A foundational goal of FESF is to provide high-quality educational services to some of the most neglected sectors of Pakistan’s society.
Q: Where does FESF receive its funding?
FESF generates its operating funds via the corporate sector, the government, Zakat ministry, donor agencies, and private individuals. The majority of FESF funding comes from within Pakistan.
Q: What career opportunities are available at FESF?
FESF actively supports equal employment opportunity for all and fosters an enabling work environment for the deaf. FESF’s high caliber, highly trained instructors deliver the highest possible level of education for its students.
Q: Where do Deaf Reach students come from?
Unlike mainstream schools, the Deaf are scattered throughout the community and in outlying areas, making it difficult for them to access specialized educational facilities. Deaf Reach provides transportation services to deaf students up to a 40KM radius from each school.
Q: On what basis is the curriculum designed?
Deaf Reach’s curriculum follows Pakistan’s national curriculum as well as draws from best practices at Deaf institutions internationally. Deaf Reach focuses on a holistic learning environment. This full-circle solution provides Deaf Reach students, their parents and their community with the tools for successful inclusion into society.
Deaf Reach’s educational and vocational programs are registered with the following boards:
- Board of Intermediate Education Karachi, Gov’t of Sindh
- Board of Secondary Education Karachi, Gov’t of Sindh
- Trade Testing Board, Gov’t of Sindh
Q: How are teachers selected?
Deaf Reach actively seeks educators who have the required qualifications, knowledge of Pakistan Sign Language (PSL), experience in Deaf education, and/or demonstrable skills in Deaf education.
All teacher candidates, regardless of their academic or teaching qualifications and experience, are required to take an examination. All teachers participate in year-round development training and workshops to increase their skill set, share best practices, and equip them with essential teaching skills.
Q: Are there any conditions to admission at Deaf Reach?
Deaf Reach includes and accepts children who are deaf, irrespective of previous education. Thus there are no specific tests for admission except an evaluation to determine the grade level in which a child can be given admission.
Q: What is the drop-out rate?
A negligible number of students (less than 2%) leave the Deaf Reach system. Typically, these are children whose parents move to another town or locality.
Q: Are there any educators on the board or committee?
With close to 200 years of combined experience in the educational sector, FESF’s management team provides the cornerstone for the high quality and standard of education in our schools, training centers and projects.
PAKISTAN SIGN LANGUAGE
The native language of the Pakistan’s Deaf community is Pakistan Sign Language (PSL). Similar to spoken languages, PSL has a variety of dialects in different regions of the country. While many common words are shared, some will be regional-specific. We have attempted to document the most commonly used sign for each word in this lexicon.
Sign languages are unique and different in each country, as is the Deaf Culture in each country. Even within countries, there are regional sign language variations. The website “The Ethnologue” states there are 7,105 known living spoken languages and 138 Deaf sign languages.
Q: What is Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) Resources?
PSL Resources can be accessed via:
- Website - psl.org.pk: Contains 5,000 words in English, Urdu, and PSL. Most of the words are accompanied with a picture to enhance language acquisition, and all words have a voice over component in both English and Urdu.
- Mobile phone app: Enables access to the PSL Lexicon via smart mobile phones in both Android and IOS format. Contains the same content of 5,000 words in English, Urdu, and PSL, along with graphic and voice over.
- DVD: Contains same content of 5,000 words in English, Urdu, and PSL as well as interactive activities that are designed to test language retention, and enables self-learning.
- PSL Book: Contains 1,000 essential signs, and is represented in seven languages: PSL, English, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto and Balochi. In addition to the PSL, this is one of the only existing dictionaries in Pakistan that contain all 4 regional languages alongside English and Urdu in one volume.
- Training Programs: Designed to improve the communication abilities of educators and families of the Deaf based on the PSL Lexicon. 3 major programs were developed: PSL Basics, PSL Masters, PSL for Parents.
- PSL Stories: FESF is continuing to develop early learning tools by creating tutorials and short stories explained in PSL, English & Urdu.
Q: Who developed the PSL Resources?
This resource has been developed by Deaf Reach Schools, a project of Family Educational Services Foundation, with the support and sponsorship of UKaid through the “Ilm Ideas – Education Innovation Fund.”
Q: Which finger spelling is most commonly used in Pakistan?
Many of the words in Pakistan Sign Language utilize the two-handed English manual alphabet. The one-handed alphabet employed by American Sign Language has become the international standard and is recognizable nation-wide. Urdu finger spelling is not in common use.
Q: What are the benefits of a documented sign language?
A documented Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) opens doors of communication. It allows the Deaf, their families, and teachers to communicate. PSL ultimately enables the Deaf of Pakistan to gain greater and more meaningful access to education, healthcare, legal representation, communication, and community participation.