Sign Language becomes a subject taught in middle schools: the initiative of the Puglia Region

There is news that is good for you and, if spread, becomes good practices to share: one of these is certainly the decision of the Puglia Region to introduce in the lower secondary school the teaching of LIS, sign language.

In implementation of the regional law 30 December 2021, n. 51 to article 17, which recognizes the Italian Sign Language (LIS) and Italian Tactile Sign Language (LIST), at the end of December 2022, the regional pilot project dedicated to the social inclusion and scholastic integration of deaf people was presented. The regional initiative will be articulated along two axes of intervention.

lines of action

The first line of intervention, managed by the Regional Welfare Department, foresees the activation of capillary interpreting services in key locations – in public administrations, in socio-health structures, in the courts, etc. – both in presence and through the use of innovative digital platforms with the aim of break down communication barriers and fully guarantee the citizenship rights of deaf people.

The second line of intervention, however, by the Department of Education, provides for the organization of LIS and LIST teaching courses in lower secondary schools in Puglia. In the division of tasks, the Puglia Region – Education and University Section and the Regional Department of Welfare, within the scope of their competence, will proceed to implement the planned planning and will assume the tasks of coordination, co-planning, monitoring and evaluation; the USR – Regional School Office will perform tasks of scientific support for planning, monitoring and will take care of the dissemination of the initiative and the involvement of the Puglia school system. The training of teaching staff will also be taken care of, who will therefore be the protagonist of an important change in the world of education.

The inclusive project

The comments of the local administrators were positive and optimistic, saying: “This is a truly innovative and unique project on the Italian scene which we hope will lead to excellent results and become an example to be replicated throughout the national scene. Because the full inclusion and realization of deaf people passes first of all from the school desks”.

The project fits fully into the program for social inclusion and school integration policies for deaf people: there are 5,000 in Puglia, with a percentage of 8% nationwide.

The Regional Councilor for Education, in presenting the project, said: “The idea is to sensitize the regional school community to inclusion and plurality of languages ​​also through the promotion of LIS and LIST teaching courses ( Italian Tactile Sign Language) especially in first cycle schools where, from ISTAT data, a greater concentration of deaf pupils emerges”.

Puglia therefore, reversing a stereotype, which sees the regions of southern Italy as more backward and less inclusive, presents itself as pioneer of a designwhich its promoters hope will not only achieve results in terms of inclusion, but will become an example to be replicated elsewhere.

Sign Language becomes a subject taught in middle schools: the initiative of the Puglia Region