Education ministry releases guidelines for development of e-content for children with disabilities

The Minister of Education today released of the guidelines for the development of e-content for children with disabilities (CwDs). According to the guidelines, e-content for CwDs should be developed based on the four principles namely: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. The e-content including text, tables, diagrams, visuals, audios, videos etc. should comply with accessibility standards: national standards (GIGW 2.0) and international standards (WCAG 2.1, E-Pub, DAISY etc).

The distribution platforms on which content are uploaded (e.g. DIKSHA) and reading platforms/devices on which content is accessed and interacted (e.g. e-pathshala) must comply with technical standards. The committee has recommended reasonable pedagogical accommodations to meet the specific needs of CwDs.

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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 CwDs to respond to its content/exercises in multiple ways.

The committee has recommended specific guidelines for the development of supplementary e-content as per 21 disabilities specified in the RPWD Act 2016 for students having intellectual and developmental disabilities, multiple disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, specific learning disabilities, blindness, low vision, deafness and hard of hearing and others.

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The guidelines have been developed as part of the PM e-VIDYA programme, which aimed at the development of special e-content for the children with disabilities (CwDs). For the first time, an attempt was made to prepare guidelines for CwDs also referred to as children with special needs (CWSN) to promote inclusive education.

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