Campus Features


We need more institutions to nurture and pay attention to our Deaf youth.

/ 9 February 2021

The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) is one of the strongest supporters of the Deaf and Mute community in the Philippines with several programs and dedicated courses for their training and education. It’s one of the few local universities that openly welcome deaf students into their school by fully integrating them into campus life, as well as promoting the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) for other non-Deaf students to learn.

Just in 2018, the Benilde Deaf School was fully established as the first bilingual-bicultural program for Deaf high school students in the country. Here, teenage students with hearing impediments can comfortably learn in a classroom environment, with Deaf mentors who are either licensed teachers, Master’s degree-holders here and abroad, or experts in their respective fields, as stated on the Benilde Deaf School website:

“BDS follows an enhanced curriculum and implements bilingual-bicultural strategies in each content area. The school also has special subjects such as Deaf Studies and Filipino Sign Language aside from those mandated by the Department of Education. BDS also facilitates a compelling Student Formation Program that promotes character formation anchored on the Benildean Expression of the Lasallian Core Values.”

The university also has a full Bachelor’s degree program, named Bachelor in Applied Deaf Studies (BAPDST), under The School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS). Students enrolled in BAPDST are prepared for employment and may choose between three fields: Entrepreneurship, Visual Media Arts, and Business Outsourcing Services and Management.

Moreover, aside from providing better opportunities for Deaf communities and giving them some much-needed attention, DLS-CSB is also making important steps to make sure that non-Deaf individuals are just as equipped to communicate and work with them.

With inclusive education as one of the university’s core values, DSL-CSB launched the “FSL Buddy App” on the App Store and Google Play Store back in 2018, a language app that teaches users over 200 signs from the Filipino Sign Language. The app features basic words and phrases in FSL, instructed by members of the SDEAS through short videos.

The school is also offering Filipino sign language online classes for students enrolled this semester, but registration has already been cut off on January 22, 2021. More classes are expected to be announced for the next semester on the DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies Facebook page.

After all, if we can spend hours trying to learn foreign languages on apps like Dualingo, and Memrise, what’s another few hours to learn something we can actually use to communicate with Filipinos that are normally disregarded and shrugged off?

Truly, the efforts made by the College of Saint Benilde in making the Philippines a more accessible place for the Deaf community are much-needed, and deserving of all the praise. It also stands as a valuable model and leader institution for other schools and universities to follow, especially as there hasn’t been a lot of programs for Deaf students to begin with. Even more so with professional careers and opportunities after taking up a full course in university.

As it is, Filipinos need to put in more effort to understand the challenges faced by our neighbors with hearing and speech impediments. May that be in the languages we learn, in the environments we create, or the opportunities we make available. Learning FSL and empowering Deaf students with quality education are just the first steps in making an inclusive Philippines possible.