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5-yr-old who was denied admission under RTE is now a devoted student

After mid-day reported that a private school refused Sadiya Sheikh admission as neither of her parents had school-leaving certificates, authorities of Jawahar Vidyalaya High School in Goregaon (West) offered her free admission

The persistent rains on Wednesday morning might have prompted many to stay home, but it failed to dampen five-year-old Sadiya Sheikh’s spirit.

On Wednesday, mid-day visited Sadiya’s new school, and watched her attend her classes and go  through her new daily routine, to which she seems to have adjusted well. Pic/Kaushik Thanekar
On Wednesday, mid-day visited Sadiya’s new school, and watched her attend her classes and go  through her new daily routine, to which she seems to have adjusted well. Pic/Kaushik Thanekar

Like she has been doing for the past two weeks, Sadiya donned her new green uniform, picked up the school bag she had packed the night before, and dangled her water bottle round her neck, ready to set out. Her unflagging enthusiasm for school can be explained by the fact that she almost didn’t make it there.

Just two weeks ago, her parents were told that their daughter was not eligible to study in an English medium school — as they had never attended school (‘Mumbai girl denied admission under RTE as her parents aren’t educated’, June 11).

After mid-day reported on Sadiya’s plight, a Goregaon school offered her free admission
After mid-day reported on Sadiya’s plight, a Goregaon school offered her free admission

Two weeks ago, mid-day had reported on Sadiya’s predicament. While she had applied to an English medium school under the RTE Act, the system demanded that her application be submitted along with other documents, including either of her parents’ school leaving certificates.

“I was heartbroken when I heard that my only dream for my daughter would not come true, only because we have never attended school,” said her father Mohammed Samshad Sheikh. A day after the report, authorities of Jawahar Vidyalaya High School in Goregaon (West) contacted them and offered free admissions to their daughter.

“I still can’t believe my daughter is going to such a good school for her studies. These are dreams we never saw for ourselves,” added Sheikh, a resident of Bhagat Singh Nagar slums in Goregaon. On Wednesday, mid-day visited the school, and watched a happy Sadiya go through her new daily routine, to which she seems to have adjusted well.

Be it morning prayers inside the school premises or learning to make simple sentences using small words in class, Sadiya does everything with eagerness and attention, and seems to have made several friends in her class. “I was so happy to see her recite an English poem so well in front of the whole class; she looks so confident and happy. We are glad the school has extended their helping hand to us,” added Sheikh.

Sadiya’s mother Zehrunisha said that every day, after getting home from school, Sadiya shares the day’s events with her parents and brothers. “She even enjoys the PT lectures, where she gets to run around the school ground,” added Zehrunisha. School authorities lauded Sadiya’s eagerness.

“In order to help her cope with the other students, we also conduct remedial classes every day after school hours. She is more than willing to stay back in school an extra hour after school and learn more. We are happy to have provided her the right platform,” said Vimala Narsihman, the school coordinator. After a day of learning new words, counting numbers and running around, ask little Sadiya what she likes the best about the school, and she quickly replies, “My new uniform.”

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