Testing, Testing!!

Continuing with spotlights on South Africa and India, both countries recently addressed the inequities of standardized testing for deaf and hard of hearing students!

CB Sharma, Chairman of India’s National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is preparing to address the 90% of schools not promoting inclusive education in the country. The board, which administers secondary and senior examinations to out-of-school children, has already recruited language professionals and teachers with Hindi, English, and ISL specialties to develop online courses and study materials which are available online. Soon, NIOS will hire sign language experts to work with teachers, empower students, and develop the bank of questions that will later become the exam. The piece demonstrates further awareness by confirming how regional language differences will be considered when establishing the test and with dynamic conclusion, Sharma admits, “the education sector has been unfair to differently-abled students“.

A quick trip southwest to takes us to South Africa where their announcement of a new accessible exam came within days of India’s. On October 16, South Africa’s Department of Education confirmed that 2018 is the first year that the matric(short for matriculation) exam will have versions both in South African Sign Language and Braille. The matric is the exam standing between 12th grade South African students and their Senior Certificate (equivalent to the US diploma).

In sharp contrast from blog 2, these two pieces are more considerate both of the language they’re using and stories it tells. For example, Sharma credits a deaf girl from Raipur for the realization that sign language has a place as the medium of exams. He explains that she approached him questioned why spoken Hindi or English are the ways in which Indian deaf are educated. The piece is also peppered with the term “differently abled.” Meanwhile, the South African article is short but enacts bold consideration for the measurement of students whose first language is different from the one on exams.

I hope to report more on these stories from the perspective of deaf students, so stay tuned!

Sources:

Kour, C. (2018, October 15). Sign Language Exams for Hearing-Impaired Students Soon – Times of India. Retrieved October 19, 2018, from https://m.timesofindia.com/home/education/news/sign-language-exams-for-hearing-impaired- students-soon/articleshow/66216283.cms

Sobuwa, Y. (2018, October 16). Matric Exam to be Administered in Sign Language for Deaf Matric Pupils. Retrieved October 19, 2018,from https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south- africa/2018-10-10-matric-exam-to-be-administered-in-sign-language-for-deaf-matric-pupils/

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