D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Nearly two months after the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (M.S.J.E.) inaugurated the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (I.S.L.R.T.C.) at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (I.G.N.O.U.) campus, the Coordination-cum-Monitoring Committee held its first meeting on November 24, 2011.
The meeting was Chaired by K.M. Acharya, Secretary, M.S.J.E. Members included the Joint Secretary and Under Secretary of M.S.J.E.; Prof. M. Aslam, Acting Vice Chancellor of I.G.N.O.U.; Zorin Singha, President, National Association of the Deaf; Dr. Onkar Sharma, General Secretary, All India Federation of the Deaf; K. Murali, Director, Deaf Leaders; Uma Kapoor, National Foundation of the Deaf Women and Prof. R. Rangasayee, Director, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (A.Y.J.N.I.H.H.).
According to sources, the meeting started off on a slightly shaky note with Prof. Aslam admitting that he did not know much about I.S.L.R.T.C. and I.G.N.O.U.ís role in its functioning.
The Chair invited comments from members of the deaf organisations, which were duly noted. An outcome of this feedback was that Acharya directed the Joint Secretary of M.S.J.E. to write to Ministry of Human Resource Development, National Council for Teacher Education (N.C.T.E.) and University Grants Commission (U.G.C.) to add Sign Language as one of the optional languages in their syllabus.
Prof. Rangasayee pointed out that a course on Sign Language has to be recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (R.C.I.) and it was decided that the Chairman of R.C.I. and N.C.T.E. should be invited for the next meeting. It was also decided that the first course can be started by early January 2012, which would be something simple like learning Sign Language. Regular research based courses would start by July 2012.
Regarding the I.S.L.R.T.C. building, Acharya mentioned that they had consultations all over India about how the building should be and the minutes are available on the M.S.J.E. website.