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Parents welcomes CBSE move to introduce Sign Language & Braille as subjects


The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)'s moves towards inclusion have been welcomed. The board has announced plans to introduce Indian Sign Language (ISL) and Braille as subjects in the school curriculum.

This is part of a draft policy that includes other measures like relaxation in attendance for children with disabilities and accessible infrastructure in schools.

At present, the system is that all students, regardless of what type of disability they have, must choose one of two subjects as their second language. This becomes a challenge for many of them. If sign language and Braille are introduced as options, this opens up new possibilities in the mainstream education system, say experts.

This is great news. Deaf people are now becoming visible in the education and employment sectors. This new scheme will benefit them a lot. Implementing this will be the biggest change to education system. Communication has always been hard for deaf students. This is a continuation of the RPWD 2016 Act. - Ruma Roka, FounderNoida Deaf Society.

The CBSE has sent letters to states across the country regarding the implementation. There are strong chances that the Human Resource Department Ministry will take this up as a model for other education boards to follow!.

The CBSE has also talked about making teaching, learning and examinations accessible with the help of the latest technologies. It also plans to plans to introduce alternate sessions for children with locomotor disabilities who are unable to come to classrooms.

Sneha Murali from the Deaf Leaders Foundation in Coimbatore says this new measure is for the best. "Education to the heart is more effective than education to the mind, which can be experimental and skill-based. These new reforms have a full impact when its major focus is towards alternative methods. Introducing sign language and Braille will enhance their conversational skills and help them also enjoy holistic knowledge".

Kamna Mathur, a parent with a deaf child, says this is great step towards inclusion.

"My son struggled to find acceptance in a mainstream school because he was hard of hearing. Other students would make fun of him and he was ashamed of the fact that he had a hearing disability. Introducing sign language will be a major step towards changing such attitudes".

Implementation this will be a major challenge given that there are not enough sign language teachers in India. Also, many say that to truly build inclusion, the option to learn sign language and Braille should be offered to all students, regardless of disability. Nonetheless, the CBSE announcement is a significant step towards a larger attitudinal change.

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