National Education Policy gives big push to Indian sign languages
The new policy’s emphasis on sign language will help people with hearing disabilities in education and jobs
The National Education Policy on July 30 announced its intent to include Indian Sign Language in the National and State curriculum and that the efforts to implement it have already started. This will be standardized across the country for the students with partial or total hearing impairment.
As per a report published by LiveMint, the World Health Organization has reported 6.3 million population of India with partial or total hearing impairment. The struggle to standardize the ISL is century old. However, the recent declaration is an indication of improvement of the situation.
Dr.V.P. Shah, former principal of the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities, Mumbai, speaking to LiveMint, said that in spite of the fact that the number of NGOs and special schools for students with hearing impairment has been increasing, only 1% of the concerned population has been taught sign language.
The report also states that as per National Association of the Deaf (NAD), many such schools stop teaching children after VIIIth standard due to lack of well trained teachers. The Ali Yavar institute had designed a course to groom Indian Sign Language trainers all across India, in 2001.
Ten years after this, the Union Ministry of Social Justice set up the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) in Delhi, and came with the first ISL dictionary with a stock of around 3000 words, in 2018. According to the LiveMint report, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016 took one more step forward with prescribing inclusion of sign language education and accessibility in the public buildings.
It is hopeful that this step will open up a new world of languages for the one with hearing impairment and also lead to exchange of the language with other nations in order to capacitate the people seeking education and work abroad.