While hearing a matter pertaining to students with learning disabilities, the Bombay High Court has said that once a screening tool is ready, the same should be adopted by the state for its Urdu-medium schools. The tool is under preparation by the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association to test the learning disabilities among children in Urdu-medium schools.
Acting Chief Justice VM Kanade and Justice AK Menon were hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) in the form of a letter written to the court by two psychiatrists. One of the petitioners, Dr Harish Shetty, had earlier pointed out that as no tool in Urdu has been evolved to test learning disabilities, 80,000 Urdu-medium students who may have such a disability would go undetected. The HC has said that the work of providing tools in Urdu for testing such disabilities should be entrusted to the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
“This department has already prepared screening tools for teachers and assessment tools for psychologists. This department may also undertake similar studies for creating screening tools for Urdu language. We are informed that the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association has already started preparing tools for Urdu language. Once these tools are prepared, they can be adopted by the state,” the HC said.
The court had also been informed in August that there are only four full-fledged centres to test learning disabilities in Maharashtra. It had then said that one such learning disability centre should be there in every district. The state has now said that such centres would start operating by February 2016.
Shetty, who is part of a HC-appointed expert panel, along with Dr Mona Gajre, head of the learning disabilities department at Sion Hospital, had also submitted recommendations including better awareness on learning disabilities.
“We have been informed that accelerated awareness of learning disability has already commenced and advertisements have been issued in newspapers. It is submitted that all over Maharashtra, teachers are informed about this disability,” the HC said.
The state also informed the Bench that a sensitisation meeting of all heads of various medical institutions was held in November. During the meeting, all the deans were informed about learning disability and steps to be taken to establish learning disability centres at their institutes.
The prohibition on post creation by the state government has also been lifted and all deans have been instructed to submit proposals for new posts of one clinical psychologist and one special educator at each medical college hospital. The matter has been posted for hearing on January 13, 2016.