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Deaf Children and Education

Not all Deaf children have the same education opportunity! Merge NZ was founded in 2017 on the belief that education in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) provides equal opportunity, and every Deaf child, regardless of their home language, hearing levels, or their Deaf identity should have an equal chance.

80% of Deaf children do not get a high quality education. Of those who get an education, only 2% are educated in sign language worldwide. In many countries, Deaf students leaving school have an average reading level of year 4-5 (8-11 years old), this includes New Zealand.

Merge NZ can assist teachers and school staff to ensure a language rich environment is created so Deaf children are placed in bilingual and bicultural programmes to improve their writing and reading through NZSL. It will provide them an opportunity for meaningful social interaction and dialogue, and a positive sense of Deaf identity.

Photo: Nick, a Deaf boy from three generations of an oral-deaf family who learnt NZSL with his family within a year and he now confidently teaches other children NZSL in his school.

The Issue

Only 2% Deaf children

access to education in

Sign Language worldwide

xx% NZ Deaf children

access to education in NZSL 

(XX hours per week on average)


5% - 10% Deaf children

access to education in

Sign Language in New Zealand

Possible Solutions

Encourage all schools to train up teachers to become fluent in NZSL and understand in depth about Deaf culture & dynamics of the Deaf community

As for families, you are most welcome to join NZSL for Families course (20 weeks) and get inspired with NZSL to use at your home with your Deaf child & your whanau.

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