First sign language alphabet for Malayalam released by Kerala Higher Education Minister

Kerala Social Justice and Higher Education R. Bindu on Wednesday released the first Malayalam uniform sign language alphabet, saying that it would bring about a qualitative change in the lives of the hearing-impaired, and promised to look into its use in special schools. As per ANI, the minister also said that she will examine the usage of those alphabets in special schools.

“Discussions will be initiated with the General Education Department regarding the use of Malayalam alphabet in sign language in special schools across the state,” said Bindu while releasing the sign language alphabet developed by the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), in collaboration with the All Kerala Association of the Deaf. The alphabet in Malayalam was designed by deaf Indian Sign Language (ISL) specialists, PTI reported. She added that it is the outcome of NISH’s tireless efforts, which encompasses the challenges faced by hearing-impaired people who communicate by gesturing with their hands in the air. The minister added that the newly designed Malayalam alphabet would open up enormous opportunities for the hearing-impaired population of the state. According to a press release by the Social Justice department, the Malayalam alphabet, which consists of vowels and consonants, is finger spelt in hand signals and its elementary stage has been created specifically for deaf schools across Kerala.

The release continued to describe that the new Malayalam sign language alphabet would reduce the difficulty that teachers and educators have faced while communicating messages using lip movement. The event took place during the International Week of the Deaf, observed during the last week of September. Its primary phase has been designed exclusively for the deaf schools across Kerala.