Guidelines to develop e-content for children with disabilities: Education ministry

The guidelines include adapting the textbooks into accessible digital textbooks.

Guidelines to develop e-content for children with disabilities: Education ministry
Press Trust of India | Jun 9, 2021 - 8:55 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Education released guidelines on Tuesday for the development of e-content for children with disabilities (CwDs) with an aim to fulfill the goal of inclusive education. The guidelines have been prepared by a committee constituted by the MoE, which had submitted its report comprising 11 sections and two appendices. The report was accepted by the ministry on Tuesday.

According to the guidelines, content for CwDs should be developed based on four principles -- perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. 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 children with disabilities to respond to its content or exercises in multiple ways," it said.

The recommendations include that the distribution platforms on which the content is uploaded and the reading platforms and devices on which it is accessed and interacted must comply with the technical standards. Reasonable pedagogical accommodations have been recommended to meet the specific needs of CwDs.

The report, while suggesting the technical features by UNICEF for the development of ADTs, stated, "However, these are not sacrosanct and can be customised according to local conditions, and discussions with technical experts of digital publishing." These features include that "the software should be able to store such information as preferences, layout and answers to exercises, and to mark where the student last opened the book". "All audio recordings must be converted into text and videos must have subtitles in local language and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. The text block must be highlighted when the user browses with a mouse or finger," it said.

The guidelines also recommend providing prompts, reminders, guides, rubrics, checklists that focus on self-regulatory goals such as reducing the frequency of aggressive outbursts in response to frustration, increasing the length of on-task orientation in the face of distractions and elevating the frequency of self-reflection and self-reinforcements.

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