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IGNOU inaugurates two centres at main campus

30 September, 2011

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) inaugurated two centres today with the laying of the foundation stone of India’s first Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) and inauguration of the Centre for Sindhi Language and Culture (CSLC) in the main campus of the university in the capital today. The foundation stone for ISLRTC was laid by the Union Ministers Mr. Kapil Sibal, Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) and Mr. Mukul Wasnik, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment in the main campus of the university. “The approach to understand 30 lakhs hearing impaired population is very limited. We not only require enough trainers in this field but interpreters too play a key role in the process. This center is a first of its kind in India offering full time teaching combined with distance learning for short term and full-fledged programmes,” said Wasnik while delivering his address in the Convention Center of the university. “Indian Sign Language (ISL) is at a nascent stage. We need to think innovatively in order to increase awareness and sensitize people in this regard. Working on the lines of the European Sign Language Centres we could think of developing sign language clubs in our union territories. We can also conduct sign language classes through video conferencing or other ICT enabled tools,” he added. Kapil Sibal termed disability as a process of “growing up”. He addressed Mukul Wasnik and said that “If we can utilize the information and technology tools to use Braille language then I am with you.” “Our ideas and language are derived from speech and its functions. The knowledge of sign language comes not by the study of deaf people but it comes while studying with them. The ISLRTC is a great responsibility to promote continuous research and scholarship for the evolution of the deaf language by building bodies of language and literature,” he added. While contemplating upon the establishment of the CSLC Sibal said that, “Among the modern Indian languages, Sindhi is the only language which is stateless. The agenda for inclusion and inclusive growth of the UPA to address the marginalized and disadvantaged is an important landmark with the establishment of CSLC. The present center shall begin its session from January 2012 to offer eight levels of study viz, foundation course for BDP, certificate for reading, writing and speaking Sindhi language, diploma, advanced diploma, PG degree, M.Phil. and Ph.D.” The ISLRTC is established in the university with the support of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. IGNOU will make five acres of land available for ISLRTC in its Maidan Garhi campus. The government has accorded approval for creation of 35 posts for the Centre for Departments like Sign Languages, Interpreting, Library, Documentation and Administration. The Centre will be established at an estimated cost of 44 crore over five years. A Committee, consisting of representatives of national-level organisations of the Deaf, will be responsible for planning and managing ISLRTC. Its classes shall commence from 15th October 2011 in the temporary buildings of IGNOU with Dr. Madan Vashistha, full time director of the center along with visiting and adjunct faculty. The building project for the centre shall be completed within one year while the recruitment shall be completed within two months. The basic features of the centre shall be to promote the use of ISL in India, carry out research in ISL, create linguistic record/analysis of the language, train people in sign linguistics and other related areas at various levels, design, promote and offer programmes in ISL interpreting and bilingual education at various levels through various modes including the distance mode. Other dignitaries present on the dais were Ms. Vibha Puri Das, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, MHRD, Mr. K. M. Acharya, Secretary for Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Prof. V. N. Rajaskharan Pillai, VC, IGNOU, Prof. P. R. Ramanujam, Pro VC, IGNOU, Mr. A. S. Narayanan, General Secretary for the Association of Deaf, Dr. Madan Vashishta, Honrary Director for ISLRTC, Mr. Ramesh Waliani, National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language.