The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will establish country’s first Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLRTC) to promote the use of Indian Sign Language (ISL).The centre will be opened in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, announced Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, VC, IGNOU.
The broad objectives of the centre is to carry out research in ISL and create linguistic record/analysis of the language, promote research on bilingual approach in education of Deaf Children, train persons in Sign linguistics and other related areas at various levels.
The Centre will start functioning with training programmes from 1st September, 2011. 35 academic posts have been created for the same.
The centre will develop and offer courses aimed at training teachers to teach ISL, develop and create resources for use in teaching of ISL to children, parents, teachers and the general public; facilitate educational use of ISL in special schools as the first language or medium of instruction and in mainstream schools as a second language or as interpreter mediated language of classroom communication.
IGNOU has been offering programmes in Sign Language including a B.A. in Applied Sign Language sponsored by U.K-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) for the last 3-years.
In India, most sign language tutors have no formal qualification, and most teachers in schools for the deaf do not have any sign language qualification. In this context, the Staff Training and Research Institute in Distance Education (STRIDE) at IGNOU and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), the United Kingdom, worked together to systematically develop new approaches to distance education in the sign language medium.