A historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed today between Indian Sign Language Research and Training Center-ISLRTC (a National Institute of DEPwD, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) and NCERT (a National Institute of Ministry of Education) to make education materials accessible for Deaf children in their preferred format of communication viz Indian Sign Language. This MoU was signed in the virtual presence of Dr. Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment; Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Union Minister for Education; Smt Shakuntala Doley Gamlin, Secretary, DEPwD and Smt. Anita Karwal, Secretary (SE&L), Ministry of Education. Dr. Prabodh Seth, Joint Secretary, DEPwD & Director, ISLRTC and Prof. Hrushikesh Senapathy, Director, NCERT signed the MoU from the respective institutes.
Addressing on the occasion, Dr. Thaawarchand Gehlot said that the signing of this MoU is a historic step as availability of NCERT textbooks in Indian Sign Language (ISL) will ensure that Hearing Impaired children can also now access educational resources in Indian Sign Language and it will be a useful and much needed resource for Hearing Impaired students, teachers, teacher educators, parents and the Hearing Impaired community, which in turn will have a huge impact on the education of Hearing Impaired children in the country. After this MoU, NCERT educational books and materials will be available in Indian Sign Language which is same all over India, which means all hearing impaired students of India whether from East or West or North or South, they all will read NCERT books in a single language i.e. Indian Sign Language. Indian Sign Language denotes Unity in Diversity which is explained through Hands and understood through Eyes and it connects all hearing impaired people of our country all together.
Shri Gehlot said that this MoU is a step towards achieving common goal of fulfilling needs of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016 and New Education Policy, 2020. As part of this MoU, educational print materials such as NCERT Textbooks, Teachers Handbook and other Supplementary materials and resources of Class I-XII of all subjects of both Hindi and English Medium will be converted into Indian Sign Language in Digital format.
Shri Ramesh Pokhariyal ‘Nishank’ in his address congratulated NCERT on its 60th Foundation Day today and said that signing of MoU between NCERT and ISLRTC for converting NCERT educational materials in to Indian sign language ensures educational standardization of Indian Sign Language as mandated in the New Education Policy (NEP), 2020. He said that DEPwD under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has done remarkable works for the welfare and upliftment of Divyangjan in the country for the past 6 years and many new records have also been made on its achievements. Definitely this MoU will empower the hearing impaired children in our country. He hoped that New Education Policy, 2020 is an inclusive one and will transform our country.
Smt. Shakuntala D. Gamlin in her address said that in the childhood days, the cognitive skills of children are developed and it is very necessary to provide them educational material as per their learning needs. So far, hearing impaired children used to study only through verbal or written medium but after signing of this MoU, they can study through single Indian Sign Language also. It will not only enhance their vocabulary but also enhance their capabilities to understand concepts. Signing of this MoU is based on the UNICEF’s initiative “Accessible Digital Textbooks for All” and it is a landmark decision.
In her address, Smt. Anita Karwal said that the New Education Policy, 2020 has focused on the Multi Lingual Education. Now NCERT under Ministry of Education will develop a Sign Language Module for Indian Sign Language. She congratulated NCERT on 60th Foundation Day as well as for signing this historic MoU with ISLRTC for converting NCERT educational materials in to Indian sign language.
Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) is an autonomous national institute of DEPwD, MSJE which is dedicated to the task of developing man-power for popularizing the use of Indian Sign Language, teaching and conducting research in Indian Sign Language.
NCERT is an autonomous organization under MHRD which is responsible for ensuring qualitative improvement in school education by undertaking and promoting research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc. develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices; and act as a nodal agency for achieving the goals of Universalization of Elementary Education.