Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Noting that online classes during lockdown period are not feasible for visual imparted and deaf and mute students, All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has technical universities and colleges to provide study material in an accessible format to students with specific learning disabilities.
The directives have been given citing an order by Supreme Court which ordered for implementing suggestions given by Javed Abidi Foundation.
The AICTE circular reads, “In the lockdown period online classes were conducted by many universities. These classes which are being provided are inaccessible for persons with disabilities because of diverse reasons. The study material which is provided is at times inaccessible because it is either in the image form and no alternative text is provided for the description of the images. The scanned documents are at times not properly scanned or at times not converted via OCR reader. Please ensure that the study material which is being provided is accessible for those having visual disabilities and specific learning disabilities.”
The AICTE noted that students with hearing disabilities are not able to participate as the lectures do not have transcripts and there are no sign language interpreters. “Necessary action may be taken to have sign language interpreters and transcripts for ensuring the inclusion of people with hearing and communication disabilities,” the technical education regulator said.
Noting that some people with disabilities need individualised support in specific subjects, the AICTE asked technical institutions to take necessary action to assign teaching assistants to them for support.
In several universities, exams are being scheduled to take place after the lockdown period gets over. However, when students with disabilities do not have access to the study material or many of them do not even have access to electronic devices to access the online classes, they face hardship in preparing for exams.
Due to the lockdown, they don't have access to specific organisations which also provide extra assistance to these students, be it for conversion of the material, or extra tutor facilities.
The AICTE asked universities to keep these challenges in mind while releasing the timetable for conducting the examinations.
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