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Online Learning in Sign Language

Digitization has democratized the education system and skill development in the country. It has enabled everyone to learn any skill or subject from the best of the teachers for free, or at a very nominal cost. This is a huge step towards solving the employability issue in the country. However, the problem persists for the hearing impaired who are often unable to make use of the video tutorials to develop skills as they cannot grasp the instruction.
Four young women who themselves have a hearing impairment, have joined hands for a special project that aid the hearing impaired to learn skills digitally in sign language. The Digital Arts Academy for Deaf (DAAD) is incubated under the Kerala Government’s Start-up Mission at the government-backed Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram. The aim of the organization is to develop course videos in sign language to teach basic IT skills to the hearing impaired.
DAAD works as a web/desktop application hybrid where students will be able to access courses offline and online. Courses are available in ISL, Natural Sign Language, and context-translated sign language with English subtitles, making it an accessible model for almost everyone who wants to learn. The platform will have free and paid courses on different subjects ranging from using software and other topics in information technology. It will be a subscription-per-course model, similar to Udemy. Users will be charged for the course s/he opts for through the platform.
Remya Raj, CEO, DAAD has remarked that DAAD is a solution to the problems she faced while trying to get technical education.
“Despite graduating in Economics, I found it difficult to get a basic diploma in technical education. I’ve had this idea of setting up a firm for developing course content in sign language for the last two years. While engaging with others in our community, I found the partners for the new venture. With support from the Kerala Start-up Mission, we launched DAAD in November,’’ says Remya to The Indian Express, with the help of Priya Raj who works in the firm as an interpreter.
Time and again we have observed that India has a lot of talented individuals who come up with the most innovative solutions to the problems we face in everyday lives. However, many of these people prefer to move out of the country to work abroad where they are valued more. India has been a victim to such brain-drain for the longest time. In order to grow faster and achieve the goal of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy, we need structural reforms that would encourage more such innovative entrepreneurs to set up enterprises, make it easy for them to set up businesses in the country and value them for their contributions in the society.