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Mumbai: School makes room for girl, again

After barring 10-year-old's admission to Class V because parents were only Class IV pass, Andheri school does volte-face, takes her back

Reacting to mid-day's report about Swati Kamble, a Class V student of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Mandir in Andheri, being expelled from school because of her educationally unqualified parents, the school authorities have decided to take her back on rolls.

The authorities had previously refused to give 10-year-old Swati admission to the next class, despite being promoted, because her parents — both Class IV pass — were not able to help improve her academic performance.

But, following mid-day's report, dated June 25, the school management and principal called for a meeting to address the issue. In the meeting, which was attended by Swati's mother, the authorities decided that the girl would continue studying at the institution.

While principal Asmita Parab previously told this newspaper that the child had been asked to stop coming to school, the chairman of the institution, Hiranya Kamdar, did a volte-face on Saturday. Kamdar claimed the school had only made the move to 'straighten' the parents. "It was just a threat because the parents did not show up at school, despite being called to school to discuss the child's poor academic performance. We didn't expect them to make an issue out of it," Kamdar said.

Despite the school's assurance, Swati's mother Rajashree Kamble remained worried about her child's future. "The trust has not given anything in writing. We hope they stick to their decision," she said.

Earlier, the principal had also spoken about conducting internal exams before promoting students from Std IV to V. While the school denied carrying out any internal test to qualify the children from primary to secondary section, Kamdar maintained that it was their job to take interest in every child's performance. "If we continue passing the kids, they will eventually fail in Class X." However, the RTE Act currently states that no student can be held back until Class VIII.

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