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Interpreters Assist Hearing-impaired Learn About ICT Technology in the Philippines

Being physically challenged can indeed get in the way of learning. To assist those with such difficulties, the Philippine government is deploying interpreters to help deaf people learn about the latest in ICT technology. Empowering people with disabilities about the latest in technology can go a long way in helping them forge a better life ahead.

With that in mind, the Philippines is ensuring people who are hearing-impaired can make the most of technology. The deaf community will learn more about innovations as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has partnered with the Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRID) to incorporate sign language in its “TekNegoShow” business type talk show.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña confirmed this disclosing that it was PRID executive director Shirley Pinky Earnheart who expressed interest to have access to the programme and have it streamed on their platform.

Launched in 2020, “TekNegoShow” gathered ICT experts, guests from the industry or technology adopter, and guests from the financial or economic side. The programme, which airs online, provides insights from a technology perspective, experiences of the adopters, as well as view from a business and economic perspective.

To get the initiative going, the PRID recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) for this partnership, De la Peña said.

The PRID shall incorporate sign language to facilitate understanding to inspire, through TekNegoShow, the deaf community to learn technologies that can serve as sources of ideas for livelihood generation. This initiative can help promote self-esteem and empower the deaf community to be self-sufficient. In the process, the DOST-ITDI shall be appropriately acknowledged or cited.

– Fortunato de la Peña, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology

The stakeholders didn’t waste time adopting the platform for the hearing impaired. With the MoA, the PRID was provided access to the show’s season 1 and special episode; and the right to stream the programme using their online platform. Season 1 featured technologies relevant to the pandemic, such as ready-to-eat food, and hygiene products, among others. On the other hand, the special edition showcased ITDI’s advanced technologies and technical services and facilities.

Earlier, ITDI Director Anabelle Briones said the Institute has allocated at least PHP2 million (US$ 38,426.80) for 13 episodes, each having a running time of 30 minutes. These episodes aim to heighten engagement with stakeholders. That way,  they increase the likelihood of technology transfer or technology adoption in the production sector, she said.

Meanwhile, De la Peña said PRID and ITDI will explore further collaboration. Among the possible collaborations is the provision of training for the deaf community, as well as the incorporation of sign language in ITDI training, and webinars starting this year, he said.

Learning about the ICT can provide a big break for the hearing impaired. Hearing-impaired children are generally lagging in terms of education because they aren’t as capable of understanding the written word. However, using ICT to provide highly-visual communication can help boost their learning abilities.

It’s a good thing that the Philippines is prioritising the comprehensive inclusion of all people in its digital transformation. Recently, it deployed internet-ready solar-powered teaching aids to remote areas.

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