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Proposal to include Indian Sign Language, Braille as language choice gets a thumbs up!

This will be a truly game changing move in Indian education, if implemented well!

At the end of a brainstorming session in New Delhi attended by parents, disabled students, lawyers, various exam boards and disability experts, important suggestions were made to make education in schools truly inclusive.

The panel suggested including Indian Sign Language as a subject, offering Braille as a language option and providing various difficulty levels of core subjects for students with special needs. This is as a part of curriculum and examination reforms.

The group has suggested that Indian Sign Language and Braille be offered in place of a second language.

These suggestions have been placed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court has asked the board to see what facilities could be extended to students with disabilities under RPWD Act 2016.

The proposal has been welcomed by experts working in the field of inclusive education.

With atleast 4 out of 1000 children who are deaf or hard of hearing in India, chances are everyone in their lifetime is bound to encounter a Deaf person whose primary communication mode is sign language. If we are to include them in everyday life, then everyone, deaf or hearing, should have the opportunity to learn ISL. Which will be possible, if ISL is included in school curriculum, and mandated in deaf schools, right from early years.- Tina Saighal, Founder Trustee, Sanket Foundation

The board will work on these recommendations and see how they can be implemented. The recommendations will cover all the major examination boards.

Implementing this in a manner which includes children with and without disabilities will be key.

Right implementation would really make a difference where these two languages are not just limited to children with disabilities but even to other children. This will make the next generation even more inclusive. - Aman Sharma, Founder, TEACH

Among the other ideas suggested by the panel was:

  • Allow calculators for students affected in acid attacks, with dwarfism and muscular dystrophy during exams.
  • Offer core subjects like Maths, Science and Social Studies at different levels of difficulty.
  • Make school websites available in accessible formats with large fonts, speech to text facility, contrast colour scheme, search option etc.
  • Assignments and question papers developed in school be provided in accessible formats.

All welcome steps that will give students with disabilities an equal chance in mainstream schools and help build an inclusive next generation.

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