A 15-year-old dyslexic girl in Mumbai, who was issued a leaving certificate by her school on grounds that she was "unable to cope", will now be able to write her senior secondary certificate (SSC) exams beginning March 3.
The Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) issued a written order on Monday allowing the child to sit for the examination.
The girl's mother said GD Somani Memorial High School, affiliated to the ICSE board, had had issued her daughter a leaving certificate (LC) on August 23 last year, citing that the teenager would be unable to cope with the syllabus.
The child could not even apply to the SSC board to take the exams as a private candidate because of the date on which the LC was issued.
The board does not allow students who were on the school roll on or after July 1 in an academic year to appear for the March exams as private candidates.
The mother said the school also misled the parents by recommending that the child be shifted to Nalanda Foundation School. After the girl secured admission there, the parents found out that it was a coaching institute that helped students take the exam as private candidates.
The girl's parents had approached MSCPCR in December last year.
After the MSCPCR order on Monday, the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education on Tuesday accepted the form 17 (application for private candidates) from the girl, allowing her to appear for the SSC exams.
"The girl child may be allowed to appear in SSC examination as special case and SSC board should modify its rule in case of child who needs special care," the MSCPCR stated.
The decision was a huge relief to the girl and her family.
"She was studying hard but was worried she may lose an academic year by not being able to sit for the exam. She had already missed out on the internal exams," said the girl's mother.
The state child rights commission has also directed the school education department to take action against the girl's school for violating the law.
"The school has violated provision of Chapter 5 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and guidelines issued by the ICSE board by not giving honest suggestion. Merely saying that the school authorities were not aware about the rules and regulations of SSC board cannot protect the school," said the MSCPCR in its order.
The school's lawyer declined comment, saying he was yet to receive a copy of the commission's order.