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Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Courses on Special Needs

INDIRA Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) and Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) are partnering for the first distance education and training programme for professionals working with the differently-abled in India.

Educators feel that the syllabus for special education and training of teachers are quite outdated compared to many other countries. Although in teacher's education and training curriculum, there are components on special education, it is not taken seriously.

According to Ignou sources, the partnership is aimed at training and education programmes for professionals working with children with special needs. As a part of the initiative, the open university is going to launch a BEd and MEd for special education courses and preparation of multimedia packages for the differently-abled. "These programmes are meant to train teachers on special education,'' asserted V N Rajasekharan Pillai, vice chancellor, Ignou.

Earlier this month, Ignou and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) discussed special education in the open and distance learning (ODL) system, followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Ignou and RCI, a statutory body of the Ministry for Human Resources Development (MHRD). Ignou is also proposing to set up a special education committee in ODL institutions to increase access for learners with special needs.

Ignou will collaborate with RCI in programme design and development of special education and rehabilitation programme through multimedia distance mode and would also facilitate delivery and certification of such programmes. Ignou would also translate the study material for the programme (awareness-cum-training packages) in eight languages and launch all the programmes within the next six months. Ignou and RCI would award the degree and diploma certificate under this programme jointly.

Elaborating on the initiative, Pillai said that there is a need to train a large number of teachers and that is one of the reasons for launching these special courses through distance mode.

In order to implement this programme, Ignou is seeking the services of senior and middle level consultants for promoting and developing rehabilitation science.The university is going to involve consultants with a PhD or a Master's degree in social sciences/ rehabilitation sciences or PhD in the field and Med/ BEd in special education with two to five years of experience and registered with RCI. Experience in networking, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of programmes in special education and in administration of higher education are desirable.

New training programme for professionals working with the differently-abled to be offered via the distance mode

Sunil Sharma
Dil Se Desi Group

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