The Centre on Tuesday approved the release of the guidelines for development of e-content for children with disabilities.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ gave the approval to the move by taking forward a comprehensive initiative taken by the government on May 17 last year by launching PM e-VIDYA with an aim to unify all efforts related to online education.
The programme inter alia envisages development of special e-content for the Divyang (Children with Disabilities-CwDs), stated an Education Ministry statement.
In pursuance of this vision, the department of school education and literacy, Ministry of Education had constituted a committee of experts for recommending guidelines to develop e-content for these children.
For the first time, an attempt was made to prepare guidelines for CwDs also referred to as Children with Special Needs (CWSN) so that the goal of inclusive education is fulfilled.
The Committee submitted a report titled “Guidelines for the Development of e-Content for Children with Disabilities” comprising of eleven sections and two appendices. The report was shared, presented, discussed and accepted by the Ministry of Education.
The e-content guidelines in the report highlights development of e-content for CwDs based on the four principles namely: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.
Besides, the guidelines mention that e-content including text, tables, diagrams, visuals, audios and videos should comply with accessibility standards.
Distribution platforms on which content is uploaded and reading platforms or devices on which content is accessed and interacted must comply with technical standards.
Reasonable pedagogical accommodations have been recommended to meet specific needs of CwDs. The technical standards and guidelines have been detailed out in Section 4 of the report.
The committee has also recommended that in a phased manner textbooks may be adapted into Accessible Digital Textbooks (ADTs). The content of ADTs should be provided in multiple formats (text, audio, video, sign language etc) with turn-on and turn-off features.
Further, ADTs should provide flexibility to CwDs to respond to its content or exercises in multiple ways.
These guidelines will initiate the creation of high quality content for digital education to children with special needs. They are dynamic by nature, to be improved based on experience and advent of better technology.