Brazil Regulates Sign Language Classes in College

    Beginning next year, teachers and interpreters of Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) will be given official training courses by the National Institute of Education for the Deaf (Ines), an organ linked to Brazil’s Ministry of Education (MEC). Initially, the courses will be limited to Rio de Janeiro.

    During the course of 2006, the Brazilian federal government intends to create or adapt schools for Portuguese-Libras bilingual instruction. The Ministry forecasts that, in three years, institutions of higher education will offer Libras classes in 20% of their courses, and, in a decade, in all of them.

    Teachers who already have command of Libras can take a proficiency exam elaborated by the MEC or an institution of higher education accredited by the Ministry. The subject will be mandatory in courses granting teacher’s licenses and speech therapy courses and optional in the rest.

    The new Libras law is expected to ensure that the staff of public institutions includes a translator and interpreter of Libras to participate in selection procedures and in the classroom.

    In a similar manner, the Federal Health System (SUS) and federal government agencies will reserve 5% of their posts for employees who are translators or interpreters of Libras.

    The regulation of the Libras law and authorization for the training of teachers in sign language will be announced today by the Minister of Education, Fernando Haddad.



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