As per WHO estimates in India, there are approximately 63 million people, who are suffering from Significant Auditory Impairment; this places the estimated prevalence at 6.3% in Indian population.
National Education Policy 2020 states that Indian Sign Language (ISL) must be standardised across the country, and national and state curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment.
To make education more inclusive for students with hearing impairment, National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks are now available digitally in the Indian Sign Language. The class 1 -5 textbooks in digital format prepared by Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) and NCERT, have been uploaded on the Diksha (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) portal of NCERT. The books carry QR codes that can be scanned to access the ISL format on e-Diksha portal or application.
There are over 490 digital modules which explain each section of the chapter in videos along with audio and text that get highlighted as the sign language interpreters elaborates on the text in ISL. These books will enable students with hearing, speech and multi-sensory requirements to connect with the learning process during class.
Shri Virendra Kumar, (Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment) said that ministry is working in close consultation with the ministry of education to enable inclusive education as a priority for the government.
The plan is to convert all NCERT textbooks upto class 12 in ISL format. Textbooks for classes 6 to 8 standard are expected to be converted to ISL over the next one year and also be available as a free resource by December 2022.