Thanks to our Hub for Deaf Education in India workshop contributors
We want to give our sincere thanks to all of the valued presenters and participants who contributed to our Hub for Deaf Education in India workshop, held at the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi on 14 and 15 April. The iSLanDS Institute’s hub development concept was presented by lecturer Sibaji Panda, who emphasised the need to bring together deaf people and organisations across India through a dedicated network to improve education and information sharing. For example, the hub network can conduct needs-based surveys of deaf people, identify gaps, collaborate with university researchers and present reports to the government to attract interventions, which has happened successfully in Brazil and Jordan. Professor Ulrike Zeshan, director of iSLanDS, emphasised the importance of unity and teamwork in the hub concept.
The CEO of the Deaf Enabled Foundation (DEF), TMK Sandeep, gave a talk on several experiences of his organisation that may be constructive for the hub network such as supporting deaf leaders/managers to act as role models for deaf members of staff, attracting sponsors, making changes slowly to enable learning to take place, and awarding salaries on a par with non-deaf organisations. Dr Madan Vasishta delivered a video presentation on the need for cooperation and careful questioning among deaf people in India to improve the education of deaf children. Aqil Chinoy gave a presentation on how deaf-led technology can be used by the hub, including examples of his enterprise Inspiralive and the businesses of deaf people in other parts of the world who specialise in providing technical services to deaf customers.
During the panel session, participants addressed the enactment and implementation of the Rights for Persons with Disabilities; this goal also requires deaf people to act in unison. Mr Panda added that to achieve unity, deaf people need awareness and knowledge about the realities on the ground.
Three discussion groups were held so that participants could share what activities they wanted the hub to pursue. Suggestions included the hub being a coordinating information centre for deaf organisations; establishing a network of deaf groups; improving educational programmes by offering quality standard curricula and sign bilingual teaching materials; training teachers and resource persons; building the capacity of deaf trainers and offering outreach programmes; providing distance learning to deaf students; running an e-library; sharing university research; disseminating resources to deaf organisations; and distributing an effective educational model across India.
Sibaji said at first the hub will focus mostly on ICT to facilitate access to information, as well as English literacy training and other educational programmes. He commented that he was honoured to see so many deaf leaders contributing their energies toward greater empowerment, and especially pleased that a number of the workshop participants were graduates of the BAASLS programme and now working hard as activists, teachers and mentors within their communities.
Further updates about hub development in India will be posted here as they become available.