Bulgaria’s Parliament approves law on sign language

Bulgaria’s National Assembly approved on January 21 the second and final reading of a law on sign language, recognising it as a language in its own right and the right of hearing-impaired people to express themselves.

The law confers on people who are hearing-impaired or both hearing-impaired and sight-impaired the right to 120 hours of free translation service per year. Up to now, the state provided funding for only 10 hours a year.

Bulgarian sign language will be available to study in kindergartens and schools, and a 13-member Bulgarian Sign Language Council will be set up at the Education Ministry.

The new law recognises the need to learn and use sign language, both by hearing-impaired people and by all Bulgarian citizens.

By December 31 2022, heads of government departments and municipal mayors must enable administrative services for hearing-impaired people and people who are both hearing-impaired and sight-impaired.

At special schools for students with sensory disabilities, training in Bulgarian sign language is to be conducted as a special subject. Parents of such children also have the right to be taught sign language.

Pupils who are hearing-impaired or both hearing-impaired and sight-impaired will have the right to use Bulgarian sign language in examinations.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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