The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is planning to set up a sign language institute for the hearing impaired and will organise seminars and workshops for their empowerment, a university statement said.

"The deaf adults should be able to go to the highest level for which we will be conducting activities in different parts of the country," said V.N. Rajasekharan, IGNOU vice-chancellor during a meeting with National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and All India Federation of Deaf (AIFD) for their views in setting up the institute.

The vice-chancellor also said that the IGNOU will on regular basis conduct meetings with these associations.

The central government recently approved the establishment of an Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), initially on project basis for a period of five years, as an autonomous centre of the IGNOU.

During recruitment of the faculty, the IGNOU said, preference should be given to deaf candidates. "We shall appoint deaf staff on probationary basis for the proposed centre," said Rajasekharan.