Education Ministry releases e-Content guidelines for children with special needs
The Ministry of Education, Government of India informed that the Centre has released a new set of guidelines for the Development of e-Content for Children with Disabilities (CwDs).
The Ministry of Education, Government of India on June 8, 2021, informed that the Centre has released a new set of guidelines for the Development of e-Content for Children with Disabilities (CwDs) to fulfill the goal of inclusive education.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal approved the release of the new set of guidelines which has been initiated under the PM e-VIDYA to unify the efforts for digital, online, and on-air education. PM e-Vidya was launched on May 17, 2020.
e-Content Guidelines for Children with Disabilities (CwDs): Key highlights
• The new guidelines for the Development of e-Content for Children with Disabilities (CwDs) envisage the development of e-Content for children with special needs.
• A Committee of experts was constituted by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education for recommending guidelines for developing e-Content for children with special needs.
• The guidelines report comprises 11 sections and 2 appendices.
• e-Content for CwDs should be based on four principles: operable, perceivable, robust, and understandable.
• The e-Content including tables, text, diagrams, videos, audios, visuals, etc should be complacent with accessibility standards, both national standards (GIGW 2.0) and international standards (WCAG 2.1, DAISY, E-Pub, etc).
• Distribution platforms such as DIKSHA for content uploading and reading platform or devices for accessing content and interaction such as e-pathshala should comply with technical standards.
Recommendations of Centre to meet the needs of Children with Disabilities (CwDs)
• Reasonable pedagogical accommodations have been recommended by the Centre to meet the needs of CwDs. The committee has also recommended that a phased manner textbook should be adapted into Accessible Digital Textbooks (ADTs).
• The content of ADTs should be available in different formats such as text, video, sign language, audio, etc with an option to turn on or turn off. CwDs must have the flexibility to respond to its content and exercises in multiple ways.
• Apart from ADTs, the Committee recommended that guidelines for developing supplementary e-Content based on 21 disabilities specified in the RPWD Act 2016 for students with multiple disabilities, specific learning disabilities, intellectual and development disabilities, blindness, autism spectrum disorders, low vision, deafness, and others.
Roadmap for the implementation of the guidelines
• A summary of the recommendations is available in the report for sharing across content designers, developers, publishers, content creators. The report also comprises the roadmap for the implementation of the guidelines.
• Technical standards for producing videos of sign language have also been incorporated in Appendix-1 of the report while Appendix-2 of the report contains the Universal Design for Learning guidelines.
Benefit of e-Content guidelines for Children with Disabilities (CwDs)
• These new e-Content guidelines will aid in creating high-quality content for digital education for children with special needs.