Aliko wants the ‘Right to Sign’

Aliko Sichinga, of Leeds, is helping launch a nationwide campaign for British Sign Language (BSL) to be taught in schools.

Aliko Sichinga, of Leeds, is helping launch a nationwide campaign for British Sign Language (BSL) to be taught in schools.

A YOUNG woman from Leeds has helped launch a nationwide campaign for British Sign Language (BSL) to be taught in schools.

Aliko Sichinga, 20, and Joshua Lusty, 15, created a survey for more than 2,000 deaf and hearing people, which found 97 per cent think BSL should be taught in schools. And 92 per cent want it to be offered as a GCSE.

The duo designed the survey as part of their work on the Young People’s Advisory Board for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).

BSL is not on the national curriculum, there’s no option to study it as a GCSE and private lessons are expensive. The survey findings show this is not just a deaf issue as respondents with no hearing impairment actually showed more interest in learning BSL than deaf respondents.

Aliko said: “We want everyone to be able to learn BSL because it is our right to be able to communicate with everyone we meet.”

On Monday Aliko and Joshua, from Grimsby, travelled to London to launch their Right to Sign campaign with the NDCS and to mark the start of Deaf Awareness Week.

Susan Daniels, chief executive of the NDCS said: “If we are to break down barriers to learning BSL, it must be on the national curriculum. This survey shows that children and young people really want to learn BSL, so we urge the Department for Education to respond to this demand.”

Joshua and Aliko are asking people to sign a petition, so that they can go to the Department for Education and ask them to put BSL on the national curriculum. Joshua said: “BSL is its own language and I want it to be a GCSE.”

See www.buzz.org.uk/righttosign for more.

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