School bars ‘slow learner’ from class

A 10-year-old Class V student has been barred from attending classes at an aided school in Canacona since July, allegedly because she is a slow learner.

Angered child rights activists, who have been appealing her case with the school's authorities for a while now, met with the education secretary Keshav Chandra on Tuesday. Chandra assured Bailancho Saad members Priyanka Velip and Sabina Martins that he would look into the matter and would ensure the girl's admission in the school.

Under the central government's Right to Education Act the state government has to provide special educators for slow learners and students with mild intellectual disabilities, Martins told TOI.

Under the Goa Children's Act any school which denies schooling to a student for any reason is liable to be fined Rs 50,000.

A source said the girl was admitted to the school in June on payment of the requisite fees, but from July she was not allowed in class because she is a slow learner. She would also constantly get up from her seat during class, the source added.

The parents, from an economically-weaker section of society, tried to admit the girl in a special school, as suggested by the aided school head, but the special school informed the parents that the child was normal, though a slow learner, the source explained.

As the girl had to continue at a regular school, a few organizations tried to intervene and pleaded the girl's case before the government-aided school's authorities. "The school declined to accept the girl back," the source said. Left with no alternative, activists met the education secretary.

Under RTE, every child has to be provided with education and not detained till Class VIII. In case of children with special needs, a special educator has to be provided and a resource room for study. Any violation has to be dealt with by the committee for protection of child rights. [TOI]