Slow learners on fast track - Gilli danda mentors train teachers to take remedial classes

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  • Published 16.12.13

Lagging behind in class is every student’s nightmare. But 200 lucky children of Nirsa block in Dhanbad will soon find unique help to push up their grades.

Eight young academic entrepreneurs of Dhanbad are making it their mission to make lessons easy for stragglers hailing from humble homes.

Volunteers of Whizmantra Educational Solutions — a brainchild of 31-year-old Dhanbad resident Abhishek Chakraborty — first hit the limelight when they taught coal town students weak in maths through gilli danda or cricket scores.

From November 20 to December 5, they trained six teachers of three state-run schools in Nirsa block on how to effectively conduct remedial classes for 200 slow learners of Classes I to VIII.

Now, these teachers will start year-long remedial classes in their respective schools around December 20. Maithon Power Limited is sponsoring the venture.

The lucky schools are Madhya Vidyalaya Palarpur, Naya Prathmik Vidyalaya in Dombhui and Madandih-based Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya.

“Though demo classes are being held for a week now, we will formally launch the programme around December 20,” said remedial classes project director Suchitra Mukherjee.

Founder-director of Whizmantra Abhishek explained why they hit upon the idea of teaching the teachers.

“We selected about 200 students, particularly those hailing from socially and economically weaker sections of society, based on our tests, their school reports and feedback from principals. Then, we decided to give tips to their teachers on how to make lessons enjoyable and easy to understand for students so that no one lags behind.”

The mentors will take the help of new-age gadgets and software to make classes interesting. They will use information and communication technology (ICT) aids to boost e-learning method.

Asked how they zeroed in on schools, Abhishek said they had conducted a survey of 12 cradles across 16 villages of Nirsa last month.

“Priority was given to schools where extra classrooms were present in order to host remedial sessions,” he said.

The remedial classes will be held before school starts or during working hours, depending on convenience. Volunteers have obtained the permission from the district education department.

Whizmantra volunteers are also mulling to enliven the classroom ambience. Walls will get new coats of paint.

Abhishek, a De Nobili School (Digwadih) alumnus and former chartered financial analyst, left his fat cat MNC job to start Whizmantra Educational Solutions in 2009. He and his seven-member team of change-makers have also taught needy children in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Ahmedabad and Rajgir.

Next project? Teaching 50 illiterate men from Nirsa under their Kalam Pakdo Abhiyan.

Is teaching teachers the best way to reach out to weak students?