British Sign Language users to be given new rights

The Scottish Government is expected to announce plans today to integrate the use of British Sign Language (BSL) into elements of everyday life.

Minister Mark McDonald is visiting the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, which offers the UK’s only degree course for deaf performers, where he will be outlining the details of the national plan to the Scottish Parliament.

Claire Lammont, head of BA performance at the Royal Conservatoire said, “It’s been two years now of having the students at the conservatoire and it’s really changed and enriched the work that happens in the building.”

“We’re excited about this plan as it’s the first in the UK similar to our course and that other people and institutions are going to experience the joy that we’ve been experiencing of how exciting it is to be cooperating both of these languages into our courses.”

Measures expected to be in the plan include removing barriers for deaf people to become teachers. It will also tackle “fair and equal access” to employment opportunities, including apprenticeships and internships.

The plan is to be the first initiative of its kind in the UK, fully recognising the disadvantages deaf people have had and how this can be mended.

The draft plan was published in March earlier this year and also includes better provision for BSL users on public transport, highlighting the need for guidance on how to contact transport providers when things go wrong on a journey.

At the time of the draft plan’s publication, Mr McDonald said, “BSL is a language in it’s own right, with its own grammar, syntax and vocabulary.”

“It has its own dialects and rich variation.”

“Most importantly, it is a language which enables many of our Deaf and Deafblind citizens to learn, work, parent, be creative, live life to the full, and to make their contribution to our communities, our culture and our economy.”

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