18 March 2018

CUHK Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies receives ‘Friendly Employment Award’ from Labour and Welfare Bureau

The Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies (CSLDS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been actively involved in employing deaf people in Hong Kong since its establishment in 2003. Recently, CSLDS joined the Talent-Wise Employment Charter and Inclusive Organisations Recognition Scheme (Charter Scheme) and last week it received the ‘Friendly Employment Award’ from the Labour and Welfare Bureau. 

Prof. Gladys Tang, Director of CSLDS and Professor of the Department of Linguistics and Modern Language at CUHK, remarked, “Despite the limited educational and work opportunities in the past, given appropriate training, deaf employees can be as productive as hearing employees, and prove themselves to be indispensable collaborators in work and research.”

Providing comprehensive training to help employees achieve their potential

CSLDS has been on the constant look out for ways to hire and train deaf workers, such as offering various certificate and diploma courses to deaf employees. After a period of training, deaf employees can take up various jobs such as sign language teaching on campus, sign interpretation, and  education in different settings ranging from pre-school to secondary schools. In recent years, more and more deaf employees have taken part in different training programmes in an effort to develop professional competencies for their career ahead. This reflects a shift in their mentality from no motivation to growing confidence.

Beginning with only 5 deaf junior researchers and several university graduates and undergraduates, CSLDS has expanded the scope of research and community outreach activities tremendously, leading to a surge in employment of deaf people. Now, among the 56 staff, 19 of them are deaf and 17 of those are full-time. Deaf employees started off as junior researchers, and with training and excellent job performance, some of them were promoted to research assistant or teaching assistant. In other words, they are no different from the hearing employees in increasing their own competitiveness at work. Furthermore, CSLDS promised in the Charter that deaf communication would always be in sign language, in order to create a barrier-free work environment.


Established in 2003, CSLDS is the only institution in Asia that offers research and professional training in sign linguistics and deaf education for university students, deaf adults, and professionals like speech therapists, audiologists and social workers. The promotion of sign linguistics, sign interpretation and deaf education in Hong Kong by CSLDS has made a tremendous impact generally on deaf development and education locally and in Asia. In 2016, CSLDS was granted the “Sustainable Knowledge Transfer Project Fund” by CUHK to establish a social enterprise called “SLCO Community Resources Limited”. This organisation aims to offer different kinds of social and educational services to specific pockets of the population whose well-being may benefit from training in bimodal and bilingual skills, as emerging research on the acquisition of such skills is beginning to demonstrate gains in linguistic, cognitive, and socio-emotional development with children. SLCO Community Resources is going to inherit the spirit of CSLDS in employing deaf people to partner with hearing people in their services, an enactment of social inclusion and respect for diversity.

Prof. Gladys Tang(5th left), Director of The Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies, attends the award presentation ceremony with her colleagues.
Prof. Gladys Tang(5th left), Director of The Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies, attends the award presentation ceremony with her colleagues.