Parents of three children suffering from learning disabilities (LD) and studying at the Bombay Scottish School, Powai, have decided to approach the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, after the school allegedly asked them to leave for demanding subject choices.
According to Dr Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, who has written an open letter to the school on the behalf of the parents said, "Students with LD wanted to select a subject like commercial studies instead of mathematics or science. However, the school said it did not have the infrastructure to provide the subjects and hence the students can leave if it is not acceptable to them."
The school is affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which allows students to select from a variety of subjects at the end of class VIII. While group I (English, a second language, history, civics and geography) is compulsory, students have to pick two subjects from group II (mathematics, science, economics, commercial studies, technical drawing, modern foreign language, classical language, computer science, environmental science and agricultural science) and one from Group III (computer applications, economic applications, commercial applications, art, performing arts, home science, cookery, fashion designing, physical education, yoga, technical drawing applications, environmental applications, modern foreign language).
"If an elite school like Bombay Scottish says they don't have teachers and infrastructure for alternate subjects then what should we expect from others. The school has been refusing alternate subjects to LD students for years. ICSE has a fantastic provision for LD students but sadly this school doesn't want to follow it. It is a clear violation of child's right to education. Parents of these children have written letters to the ICSE board but the board has turned a blind eye to them," said Shetty. Parents with the help of the psychiatrist have decided to approach Child Rights Commission.
Commenting on the issue, Gerry Arathoon, CEO & Secretary, CISCE said, "The school has to apply to the council to provide the optional subjects if they have the infrastructure or demand. The council cannot mandate the school to provide a subject against its (school's) will. However, there are other concessions that will be available to the students suffering from LD, which they can avail of."
School authorities did not respond to the email from dna and when contacted the school, an official said the principal would be available for comment only on Tuesday.