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Never forced ‘slow learner’ girl to drop out, school tells rights panel

The girl was denied permission to appear for board exams privately since it is meant only for those students who have left school in the month of July.

Mumbai | Published: January 10, 2014 3:50:14 am

In a case where a parent has claimed she withdrew her daughter from G D Somani School in Cuffe Parade after being told by the principal that she would not be able to clear her Class X exams as she was a slow learner, the principal has now submitted an affidavit to the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR), stating that the counsellor had suggested that the 15-year-old student think of “easier options like SSC and NIOS boards for dyslexic and learning disabilities students as she was not able to cope with ICSE”.

The affidavit says the suggestion was also offered to other students having learning disabilities and that six dyslexic students were appearing for the ICSE 2014 exam from G D Somani.

While the mother has accused the school of misguiding her and making her daughter drop out of the school, the school’s affidavit says the student voluntarily left G D Somani and was never forced by the school. “…In August 2013, the student’s mother voluntarily took a decision to admit her daughter to Nalanda Academy and applied for a leaving certificate (LC) on August 22, 2013, from our school after she got admission there. Even before asking for the LC, she was attending classes at Nalanda. As per the LC application, we issued an LC on August 23,” says the principal in the submission to MSCPCR.

“We have 44 students with various learning disabilities. Currently, six students suffering from dyslexia and other learning disabilities are in Class X. We have never treated them differently,” it adds.

The girl was denied permission to appear for board exams privately since it is meant only for those students who have left school in the month of July.

The school’s affidavit says that on October 6, 2013, the girl’s mother approached G D Somani and requested for a backdated LC as the SSC board was not allowing her daughter to appear for the final exam scheduled in March 2014.

“Since it’s illegal to issue a backdated LC, I refused the same,” says the principal in the affidavit.

The affidavit, however, says the school is ready to issue a backdated LC for June 2013, provided a direction to that effect is given by the state education department.

Meanwhile, in a separate affidavit to MSCPCR, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has said that as per regulations and eligibility rules, “the applicant’s daughter is not eligible to appear for the SSC exam in March 2014 and that the action of the board is proper”.

A representative from the state board has, however, told MSCPCR that if the school makes changes in the date of leaving, she can be allowed to sit for the exam.

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