South-South collaboration in realising the impacts of Peer-to-Peer Deaf Multiliteracies research in India, Uganda, and Nepal

Lead Research Organisation: University of Central Lancashire
Department Name: Sch of Languages and Global Studies


This project arises from research on "Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies" - the idea that deaf sign language users can learn language, literacy and allied skills by working with deaf tutors in real-life relevant and self-generated ways. This previous research has shown that new ecosystems of learning can be developed and adapted to be used with different groups of deaf children and deaf youth in countries of the Global South.

With this project, we go a step further towards introducing key elements from Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies research into concrete educational contexts, working with partners in India, Uganda, and Nepal. Crucial elements in pursuing this work are capacity building with young deaf professionals, multi-stakeholder engagement with key players in the relevant educational sub-systems, and effective South-South collaboration. To this effect, our work will create a range of materials (curricula, teachers' handbook materials, teaching/learning materials, and best practice examples) underpinning newly arising roles for deaf professionals for use in each partner country.

This work takes place in the context of increasing calls for people with disabilities to take an active role in all matters that concern them, e.g. in the "Charter for Change" that resulted from the 2018 Global Disability Summit in the UK. This project therefore moves from a "deaf-led research" agenda further towards enabling "deaf-led practice" in deaf education. We do this by following a common impact pathway for the three partner countries, at the end of which training options, human resources, and bilingual teaching/learning materials are developed to a point where a further roll-out of innovative ecosystems of learning for deaf sign language users becomes possible.

Planned Impact

In terms of immediate benefits, 14 deaf trainees from India, Uganda, and Nepal participating in the capacity building programme constitute the first group of beneficiaries from this research. They will build their capacities as master trainers and implementers of multiliteracies provisions, increasing their employability in this context. A second group of beneficiaries are members of the national agencies that need to conduct work allied to this project, but have expertise and manpower shortages to do so, namely the National Curriculum Development Centre in Uganda and the National Institute of Open Schooling in India. They will be enabled to pursue their objectives, particularly with respect to work on sign languages. Similarly, the schools for the deaf in India who are participating in the project will benefit from trained human resources, as they also face shortages of skilled personnel. This then impacts several hundred deaf children and youth who are taught in these schools and constitute the secondary group of beneficiaries, along with some of the teachers who will be exposed to new teaching approaches. Ca. 150 of these secondary beneficiaries can insights into improved teaching and learning methods via working our 10 Indian trainees on field placements.

This study has capacity-building, instrumental, conceptual, and connectivity impacts. These impacts are achieved by taking key educational actors from three partner countries, namely India, Uganda, and Nepal, through a common impact pathway. The capacity building impact is that deaf sign language users will be trained in the implementation of multiliteracies work with deaf children and adults, so that they can become conduits for the uptake of multiliteracies research in contexts of deaf education. The 14 participants will become master trainers in the deaf language and literacy area through this programme.

The instrumental impacts are in the form of three curricula that, if formally accredited, serve to institutionalise deaf sign language users' role in deaf education. If accreditation is not achieved during this project's lifetime, the curricula will be used in informal contexts. Secondly, multiliteracies work will be supported in the deaf education context with three sets of bilingual teaching and learning resource materials, in English and the sign language of the target country.

In terms of conceptual impact, our activities serve to reduce prejudice against and marginalisation of deaf people in educational systems, and to raise awareness among practitioners and policymakers about the capacity of deaf sign language users for contributing crucial skills to multiliteracies provisions for deaf children and adults. Finally, this project is an example of South-South collaboration between minorities who are educationally disadvantaged, and therefore has a unique connectivity and networking impact, where international deaf actors support and learn from each other.


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