MUMBAI: Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that it has recently come out with a resolution allowing student writers for slow learners or those suffering from learning disability in the forthcoming SSC and HSC Board examinations in the state.
The information was given by the state government pleader to a bench of Justices V M Kanade and Anil Menon who were hearing a public interest litigation taken up suo motu after child psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty and other doctors attached copies of news reports with their letter to it on March 30.
In their letter to the high court, the doctors said that in denying the services of writers, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) had allegedly violated child rights. Later, the high court issued notices to NIOS after which the open school decided to provide writers to slow learners. The government pleader informed the high court that the Government Resolution (GR) had been issued by the Maharashtra government on January 8 in which it been declared that writers would be provided to students with learning disability in the board examinations. The state had also decided to introduce learning disability centres in medical colleges. Out of the 15 such centres to be set up, six had already come up in various places including Dhule, Chandrapur, Kolhapur, Miraj and Pune.
The remaining would start from second week of this month, the high court was told. The government also said that it would soon display on its website the recent GR on allowing writers in examinations for students with learning disability.
In Mumbai and Pune, additionally learning disability centres would be opened, the government told the high court. As per details given by the government to the court earlier, there are a total of 37,358 school students found suffering from learning disability in the state.
A total of 2,013 students in Mumbai city and 2,468 in its suburbs were identified with learning disability.
In an earlier order, the high court had directed the state to set up special centres to help students with learning disability to get their certificates and assessment done.
The court had suggested the state to set up one such centre in each district. Currently, there are only four centres — three in Mumbai and one in Pune. In other places, learning disability assessment and certificate issuance is the work of civil surgeons.
An affidavit filed by Dr Shetty said that around 80,000 students in Urdu-medium schools were suffering from learning disability and there is no centre in the state to identify this disorder. Because of this, thousands of children drop out — disillusioned, confused, sad and angry.
While a test in English existed, that of Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati were developed in 2008 by S.N D.T funded by association of adoptive families, it said.