A host of disability related programmes was launched at Indira Gandhi National Open University’s Twenty-first Convocation here on Monday.

The programmes include post-graduate professional diploma in special education in the area of mental retardation, visual impairment and hearing impairment, post-graduate professional certificate in special education programme in the areas of mental retardation, visual impairment and hearing impairment, M.Ed. in special education, M.Sc. in counselling and family therapy and certificate in early childhood special education enabling inclusion (mental retardation).

Sixty-six gold medals were awarded at the Convocation, which was telecast live on Gyan Darshan and held simultaneously at IGNOU’s 43 regional centres.

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research former Director -General Prof. S. K. Joshi, who delivered the Convocation address, emphasised that education did not prepare students for dealing with life but merely prepared them for jobs. He also added that such education did not teach individuals how to examine life goals, to sort out conflicts and to deal with relationships.

Exhorting IGNOU to incorporate human values in its education system, Prof. Joshi said since human values had been ignored in the educational system, the rise in crime, erosion of social discipline and atomisation of family were being witnessed. Modernity and economic progress could be reconciled with human values, he added.

IGNOU Vice-Chancellor Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai said, in an attempt to diversify its range and mode of course offerings, IGNOU has launched a large number of programmes in the on-campus mode. These include programmes in journalism, electronic media production and management, social anthropology, chemistry, gender and development studies, extension and development studies, labour and development, actuarial science, social work and translation studies among others.

The university has also launched a new sign language programme for the benefit of professional education of deaf students throughout India. It includes a one-year preparatory course targeted at deaf signers leading to the B.A. applied sign linguistics degree reportedly the first of its kind in India.

This course aims at producing language teachers competent to teach literacy and sign language to children, adults, interpreters, parents of the deaf and teachers in more than 550 deaf schools in India with a scope for international outreach as well.

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