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India: NIOS Receives the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize 2021 for Focus on Inclusive Learning Material

September 12, 2021

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), run by the education ministry, has bagged global recognition from UNESCO for its innovative approach towards education.

The recognition is for educating differently-abled people through technology-enabled inclusive learning material. The NIOS move has a specific focus on Indian sign language-based content, the organization said on Sunday.

According to UNESCO, the shift to online learning due to the covid-19 pandemic has impacted over 320 million children in India alone. The lack of education devices, disabled-friendly online teaching and special assistive technologies has further hampered access to education for children with disabilities. By awarding NIOS the King Sejong Literacy Prize, the jury has recognized the value of providing for the unique educational and language needs of PwD learners by developing teaching content in sign language through digital mode.

“The award-winning programme focuses on the use of digital tools and local language to help persons with disabilities the option to access Indian Sign Language (ISL)-based content. The programme notably developed Indian Sign language as a language subject at secondary level and videos in sign language version in seven subjects at secondary level and senior secondary level as well as an ISL dictionary, made available through the NIOS portal," NIOS said.

To be sure, NIOS, an open learning school board, is also implementing the government’s virtual school initiative announced last month.

Every year, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes focus on a specific theme. This year, the focus was on inclusive distance and digital literacy learning. Along with NIOS, this year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes was awarded to other five outstanding literacy programs from Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, and South Africa.

Established in 1989, with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea, the recognition is awarded to governments, governmental agencies or nongovernmental organizations displaying merit and achieving effective results in the fight for universal literacy.

Source: Livemint