First graduate school for deaf/HOH students to start in 2010

Tsukuba University of Technology, located in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, which offers deaf/HOH students and visually impaired students respectively, announced on April 23, 2009 that it would start a graduate program next spring.

The authorization of the graduate program by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will be reportedly expected in December, 2009.

According to the university officials, this kind of program will be the first in Japan, while in the United States there are already two universities that offer the graduate program to the deaf/HOH students.

In the new graduate program, four deaf/HOH students will be accepted to the industrial technology faculty, and three visual impaired students accepted to the health science faculty. The industrial technology faculty includes each course on mechanical engineering and electronic engineering.

The number of first-year undergraduate students is currently total of 90, and about 10 percent of them will be admitted to the graduate program. When once authorized, the first entrance exam will be administered at the beginning of next year.

Besides, the university is planning to set up a teacher-training course and a language learning center that teaches the Japanese braille and sign language to Korean and Chinese students who are deaf/HOH or visual impairment.

President Yoshinori Murakami said, "We intend to train these students to become a leader in the society in the future though the goal of the university has been social participation of persons with disabilities".

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