The reputed IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) will up soon come with IGNOU Sign Language Institute, which will teach sign language. According to IGNOU Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre has been established at IGNOU here as an autonomous centre by the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry and is slated to start functioning by this September.
IGNOU's Staff Training and Research Institute in Distance Education along with the University of Central Lancashire have developed new approaches to distance education in the sign language medium to make up for the lack of qualified Indian teachers in this field. The estimated cost of building IGNOU Sign Language Institute and procuring equipment is estimated to be around 20 and 5 crores. The funds will be provided by Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry. Thirty five academic posts have already been created.
Two committees have been constituted for the Centre. The members in the committee from IGNOU includes three representatives from national-level organizations of the deaf, two representatives from nation national-level organizations of the deaf, two representatives from national level organizations of sign language interpreters and three linguistics working on Indian sign language from three different universities/academic institutions.
For the last three years IGNOU has been, through sponsorship from the UK-India Education Research Initiative offering a B.A in Applied Sign Language which includes a dual award from UK and India. Presently three batches with students from India, Africa, China, Nepal and Malaysia are running. The proposed institute will be the first for deaf students in India, to access university education via sign language.
The centre will shortly start working with training programme making use of existing facilities and availing of national and international experts in the field from September 1