Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018
With only 10% schools promoting inclusive education in the country, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is now mulling to introduce sign language exams for the hearing-impaired students.
“We have come a long way since the time when schools for visually impaired, hearing impaired and autistic children had to operate in isolation. We have moved to inclusive education but we need to integrate differently abled with the society,” said CB Sharma, chairman, NIOS.
“Government’s approach to promote inclusive education can be traced back to National Educational Policy, 1986, which recommended ‘to integrate the handicapped with the general community to prepare them for normal growth and enable them to face life with courage and confidence,” says CB Sharma, chairman, NIOS.
Sharma recounts how after the amendments in the Disability Act two year ago, he, along with his team, decided to make provisions for differently abled students enrolled with NIOS.
A committee was formed along with mothers of disabled children and new guidelines were rolled out for NIOS students in 2016. In the same year, changes were made in the rules for autistic children, who were allowed to take exams from their homes.
A few changes for hearing-impaired students were rolled out when a hearing-impaired girl from Raipur questioned Sharma on the relevance of having Hindi or English as the medium of language. This led him to realise the need for sign language as a medium of exams.
“That is when we planned an exam in sign language,” adds Sharma.
“To make things easy, we have hired sign language experts with an expertise in subjects, including English, Hindi, Home Science, Social Science, Data Entry Operations and Painting. These experts recorded lessons for hearing-impaired students,” adds Sharma.
The details of the course and study material are available on our website. The primary objective of an education board is to assess and evaluate students honestly in whichever medium they are comfortable in.
The board, which administers secondary and senior secondary examinations to out-of-school-children, equivalent to the CBSE and the CISCE exams, will make a bank of questions in sign language and send to a network of 21 regional centres across the country. One of the major challenges that the board faces is non availability of sign language experts. “The board will hire experts who will work with teachers and then empower the students,” adds Sharma.
“We have been promised by the MHRD to broadcast these lectures on Swayam Prabha channel 24X7 to reach out the differently abled across the country,” adds Sharma.
Lack of standardised sign language
“At present, we are using Indian Sign Language (ISL) that is majorly used in the country. Once implemented successfully, we will change few signs in accordance with the regional languages,” says Sharma, admitting that the education sector has been unfair to differently abled students, but time has come to formulate firm guidelines for them.
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