Open schooling board uses digital tools and sign language-based content to help differently-abled kids get through online classes during lockdown
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) run by the Union education ministry has been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its innovative approach towards education for specially-abled students.
NIOS introduced technology-enabled inclusive learning material -- with focus on Indian sign language-based content -- in a bid to help differently-abled children navigate through online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown across the country.
“The award-winning programme focuses on the use of digital tools and local language to give persons with disabilities the option to access Indian Sign Language (ISL)-based content. The programme developed Indian Sign Language as a language subject at the secondary and senior secondary levels, apart from an ISL dictionary made available through the NIOS portal,” the open schooling board said.
More than 320 million children have dropped out of schools during the pandemic, according to UNESCO, owing to the lack of disabled-friendly online learning; accessibility to devices for an online class; and special assistive technologies. The King Sejong Literacy Prize, awarded to NIOS on September 12, has recognised the value of educating differently-abled individuals through inclusive learning, unique educational and language needs in digital mode.
NIOS is also carrying forward the virtual school initiative announced by the government in August.
The UNSECO International Literacy Prizes focus on a specific theme every year. This year, it was inclusive distance and digital literacy learning. The award was also given to five outstanding literacy programmes by Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Mexico, Guatemala and South Africa.
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