Thursday, 9 January 2014

Girl with Learning Disability May Lose An Academic Year

Girl with Learning Disability May Lose An Academic Year

A 15-year old girl with learning disability, who was forced to drop out of G D Somani Memorial School, now fears that she may lose an academic year as no final decision has been taken in her case yet. The student — who alleged that she and her mother were misguided by the school — has tried to register herself as a private candidate to appear for the board exam in February. However, her efforts have been in vain.

The mother of the student who has dysgraphia, dyslexia and dycalculia has accused GD Somani Memorial School of allegedly misguiding her and making her daughter drop out of the school because she is a "slow learner". She has now moved the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) as her daughter has been denied admission by the Maharashtra state board as well.

The mother said she had applied for a school leaving certificate on August 22 at the behest of the school and was handed over a copy of it the next day.

The Maharashtra state board, however, rejected her daughter's Form 17, meant for private candidates who wish to appear for board exams, stating she did not meet relevant criteria. "State board officials told me that students appearing as private candidates must not be on the attendance roll of any institute after July 1 of an academic year. Since my daughter's school leaving certificate was signed on August 23, they rejected the form," the parent said.

The parent claims to have approached many state board schools seeking help. Her application was, however, rejected everywhere.

"My daughter was in this school since Class III. After she failed in Class IX, the school told us they will let her attend Class X on a trial basis. In August, I was told that she will not be able to cope with the syllabus of ICSE board and we should shift her to an easier (SSC) board. I thought that the school authorities were trying to help me so I followed their instructions, but I was cheated," she alleged.

The mother alleged that the school referred to her turned out to be a coaching institute for those who wish to sit for exams privately. " The school suggested us to take admit my child in Nalanda Learning facilitation programme. When I visited the institute, I found out that it is a coaching centre. However, the officials at the institute have been of great help to us," the parent said.

When approached Aarti Gandhi, director of Nalanda Learning facilitation programme said, " We have never claimed that we are a school. We are an NGO and run many educational programmes, in one of which we help many drop out students to appear for SSC exams as private candidates through a government school.
However this student's application was rejected. I had emphasised at the Child Rights Commission hearing that the decision has to be taken at the earliest as the exam is approaching and the girl may lose the academic year. The next hearing is yet to be scheduled. We are training the girl at our institute. Meanwhile and she is doing very well."

B D Seymour, Principal, G D Somani School did not answer calls.

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