Emerald Hill School for the Deaf

Emerald Hill School for the Deaf

Emerald Hill

Emerald Hill School for the Deaf has its origins in the Midlands Province in 1947 at Loreto Mission, Silobela, Kwekwe (Que Que), the school was forced to close during the “liberation war,” and reopened by the Dominican Sisters at Emerald Hill in 1979.

The first sisters to run the school were trained in Ireland, South Africa and later in Holland. In these countries, the sisters trained to teach the deaf to speak and lip-read, preparing them to be absorbed back in the society. Consequently, the school aimed to train deaf children speech and speech reading for many years until the school moved to Emerald Hill in Harare at the height of the war of liberation.An inter-play of many factors influenced the education system at the school at the new location in Harare. These included among others, the awareness of the deaf culture, deaf rights to their language, teaching staff and parents and the parent ministry‘s policy on deaf education. In 1985, secondary education was included.

The Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture emphasized the use of sign language, a trend that went on for two decades. The school administrators, however, were not very happy with the end product. The quality of students produced was very low and poor. Students, who could hardly speak, read or write any language at all. They were neither fluent nor efficient in sign language either. The deaf graduate from the school found many challenges fitting into the community they were supposed to live for the rest of their lives after school. The education system had many gaps and confused meanings.

In 2000, a donor assisted the school with hearing aids and training for the teachers. For over a decade now, the school is focusing on the Natural Aural Oral Method in teaching deaf children.

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis