By Aisar Fagge
On 3rd November, 2021, a delegation from the Al-Azhar University, Egypt visited Al-Istiqama University Sumaila (AUSU) for partnership, staff training and establishing a centre for Arabic sign language that no any Nigerian university has. Explaining to the Daily Reality about this development, The VC of Al-Istiqama University, Prof. Salisu Shehu said:
“You know universities in the world thrive on partnership and collaborations. You need to come to abreast with international best practices in university education. And it is only through collaboration and partnership you get that. You need to mutually interdependent on one another. And it is on this basis we get some form of partnership with Al-Azhar University. As it were, Al-Azhar University is over one thousand years old. It is our big mother.”
“We are moving towards a memorandum of understanding with Al-Azhar University, and they are going to help us in a number of ways: one of which, for example, is that we want them to give us training, to train some of our staff on Arabic sign language.”
There is a problem with Muslim deaf people when it comes to Arabic language and reciting Qur’an especially in their prayers. Lamenting about this lingering issue, the VC affirmed that:
“Muslim deaf people in Nigeria don’t read Arabic, they don’t read the Qur’an, they pray in English. Because what is taught in our school is only English sign language. So even when you write Hausa to them they don’t understand, let alone the Arabic language.”
“So we need to get Arabic sign language and, we want to make Al-Istiqama University, insha Allah, a center for the production of deaf people that are literate in Arabic sign language so that they will be able to read Arabic and Qur’an. Not the usual English they are taught.”
“So we have requested Al-Azhar University to support us in terms of training so that can establish a center for Arabic sign language in order to promote braille literacy,” he concluded.