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Do your HSC students really have learning disabilities, Maharashtra board asks colleges

Close to 120 students with LD, who had applied to the Maharashtra state board’s Mumbai division for concessions during exams were made to wait for three months

mumbai Updated: Feb 18, 2018 00:39 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
HSC,HSC students,Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education
Principals said they were angry at being made to verify their students’ disabilities.(HT FILE)

Less than a week before students with learning disabilities (LD) are scheduled to appear for the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, colleges which sent their names to the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) have been asked to verify the authenticity of these lists.

Close to 120 students with LD, who had applied to the MSBSHSE’s Mumbai division for concessions during exams, which begin on February 21, were made to wait for three months by the board as the colleges were asked — “How can you have so many students with LD?”

“We had applied for concessions for 69 students with LD. The board was skeptical that one college had so many students with LD,” said Swapna Durve, vice principal (junior college), Mithibai College, Vile Parle. The college has 2,393 students across three streams, who will appear for their HSC exams next week. “We had to submit many documents all over again, along with an undertaking confirming that all these students have LD and if they are found to be at fault, then the student and the college will both be penalised,” she added.

Of the 69 applications, Mithibai had sent 50 applications to the board in August 2017. After six months of being interrogated, the board sent across all concession allocation certificates to all applicants on February 17. “Parents and students have been worried sick for the past three months as they had not heard from the board. It’s unfair to put children through such anxiety, especially when their exam is just three days away,” said Parag Ajagaonkar, principal, N M College, Vile Parle. Close to 46 of his students had applied for LD concessions.

State board officials said the process has been completed. “The idea was to ensure that no student takes advantage of the concessions, so we asked the college for a few documents,” said R B Giri, in-charge chairperson of the Mumbai division.

However, principals said they were angry at being made to verify their students’ disabilities. “As per the Maharashtra government rules, 3% of the total intake capacity at the time of admission to Class 11 is kept aside for students with disabilities; 3% of 2,300 roughly amounts to the number of applications we sent, so why is the state board questioning us still?” said Rajpal Hande, principal of Mithibai College.

Parents said they were relieved. “I had no clue whether my daughter would be eligible for concessions and with less than three days for the exam, we needed to know how prepared we should be. The board should be making lives easier for children, not more difficult,” said a parent.

First Published: Feb 18, 2018 00:39 IST