Stop closure of the only BA in Sign Language Programme for Hearing Impaired in India
- Kumari Selja Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, DR. M. M. Pallam Raju, Education Minister Ka
Nobody would have thought that in less than two years of setting up of the first Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLRTC) for the Hearing-Impaired, plans would be afoot to shut it down. But that is what seems to be happening at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) campus here.
Vice-Chancellor M. Aslam has publicly announced that t there was no point in continuing with the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sign Language Studies (BAASLS) program.
Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment
Minister for Human Resource and Development
We, the undersigned strongly condemn the closure of, the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sign Language Studies (BAASLS) programme at the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the mistreatment of its students.
We demand the continuation of the BAASLS programme, and the entitlement of the existing students to receive a dual degree from both IGNOU and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), as originally advertised.
We believe that not only should this program not be closed but that Indian government should devote additional resources toward the development of other such institutions to facilitate access and equity for People with Disabilities in India.
The Vice Chancellor, M. Aslam, not only decided to discontinue the programme but has indicated students would not receive an Indian degree upon completion. As part of a partnership between IGNOU and UCLan, students expected to receive a dual degree from each partner on completion of the programme. In place of the Indian degree, IGNOU's Vice Chancellor has indicated students would only receive a certificate of participation.
According to the World Health Organisation, over 1 billion people live with Disability worldwide. Of this, around 800 million people live in the developing world. An estimate by the United Nations that 10% of a population have a disability would mean India has around 120 million people with Disabilities. People with Disabilities in India are marginalized and discriminated against. According to the National Disability Network report, 95.5% children with Disabilities drop out after primary school. Less than 0.5% of books, textbooks or otherwise published in India are in accessible formats.
According to the National Association of the Deaf, at least 18 million people live with Deafness each day. Despite this, there are only 550 Deaf schools, the great majority of which only teach till secondary levels. Only 1 in 10 Deaf children attends school in India. In the entire country, there are only 250 practicing Sign Language interpreters. In light of this situation, the decision taken by the Vice Chancellor and administration of the IGNOU to close the BAASLS program, the only program available to the Deaf community in India, after only 2 years of existence is condemnable and speaks volume of the treatment towards the People with Disabilities in India.
Therefore, we seek urgent intervention in this issue.
We demand the program be immediately resumed.
The Stop closure of the only BA in Sign Language Programme for Hearing Impaired in India petition to Kumari Selja Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, DR. M. M. Pallam Raju, Education Minister Ka was written by Prerna Bakshi and is in the category Education at GoPetition.