Human rights commissioner Maria Stylianou-Lottides on Friday called on the education ministry to find permanent solutions to ensure the stable and uninterrupted provision of sign language interpretation services for deaf students, after receiving complaints from a mother regarding her two children.

In a report on the issue, Lottides explained that the complainant, who, like her children, is deaf, made repeated complaints to her office concerning the employment of sign language interpreters for her children during their school studies.

She added that due on one hand to the limited number of interpreters who can work full morning hours, and on the other to the procedures followed by the ministry, the two children often have to spend a considerable amount of time without the specific services.

“This affects their right to enjoy quality and effective education and, as a failure to provide reasonable adjustments for their needs, constitutes unfavourable discrimination against them,” Lottides said.

Given that the two students will continue to attend primary and secondary education for the next two years, the education ministry must carry out specific planning in order to find “permanent and non-bureaucratic solutions, which will ensure the continuous, stable and seamless provision of sign language interpretation services” for them.

“This could be made possible either through the appointment of interpreters on a permanent basis, at least for the years of study of the two students, or through the creation of a list of sign language interpreters, which will be available to hire immediately and without delay,” she suggested.

The commissioner said she has submitted her report to the ministry’s general director, expecting her to study and process the conclusions and recommendations and to inform her on next steps.

She added that the report was also forwarded to the confederation of organisations for the disabled.