BASE Project

What is BASE?

BASE is the acronym for Basic Skills in English for Deaf Adults. This is project cofunded by the European Commission through the Education, Audiovisual and Cultre Executive Agency in the frame of the call 2008 of the  Life Long Learning Programme (Grundtvig sub-programme).

It will run during two years (November 2008-October 2010).


For profoundly Deaf people to participate in a globalised society, built on digital communications. they need a competence in written language and especially in written English which is the main language of world communications.. Unfortunately, most profoundly Deaf adults do not achieve this competence in written language This is a well-known and well-researched problem, across the world. 

Since the introduction of sign bilingual education, schools for the deaf in many countries have switched to a sign bilingual method to teach reading. Deaf children are no longer taught to read by converting written words into spoken words, but by converting written phrases and sentences directly into sign language: 'inner sign'.

Most adult deaf learners have not been able to benefit from the benefits of 'sign bilingual education' and/or the  sign bilingual approach to teaching reading. In the proposed project, we want to remedy that.We want to give all profoundly Deaf people the opportunity to learn to read, according to the most recent insights of sign bilingual education.

No government has addressed the needs of Deaf people to achieve parity in education because the numbers in any one country are statistically insignificant. So deaf people face total exclusion and discrimination, especially in these days of digital culture and media literacy.   But BASE partners believe that there are enough profoundly Deaf people in EC countries (2.5 million) to justify solving this language problem, so that when we try to build inclusion in the digital age, Deaf people have their place. 

The access issues for blind people have been largely solved through technology.  For Deaf people we now need to solve the access issue through language acquisition.

This proposal is submitted accordingly with the EU i2010 strategy in the field of eInclusion and with the aim to support the goals of the new Lisbon strategy related to the employment opportunities.


  • Creating a practical and tested methodology, with appropriate materials and testing procedures to give  profoundly Deaf people the opportunity to acquire working competence in a major written language (English).

  • Giving Deaf people the opportunity to fill in online forms, to read official information, to have choices of service providers and all other amenities available to hearing people through written media .

  • Providing deaf organizations and teachers of deaf people with the methodology and support materials to introduce basic language competence teaching to Deaf people wherever they are.

Expected Outcomes:

  • The main product will be a practical tool to teach English as a written language.
  • Develop the practical methodology to work in a multinational context
  • Create a multimedia course to deliver Level 1 Basic English with no reference to sound with an easy to use internet based digital scaffold, with a course usable anywhere in Europe
  • Compile a directory of Deaf organisations in Europe and provide them with quarterly reports on the progress of the project and how they can be involved.
  • Test the pedagogy and materials
  • Train the teacher / tutors
  • Run the pilot course in 3 countries (Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom)
  • Test and evaluate the results, make modifications to course
  • Make the course and tutor guides available to all  organisations

Access to BASE Course