Students turn teacher to help children in Howrah
A group of Class XII students whose board exams are on hold have been using the extended break to teach children of their study centre.
The girls and boys have a few of the Higher Secondary papers left but they have been holding classes for the past two months, assigning homework and ensuring the children — who would otherwise have dropped out — remain in touch with studies.
The founder of Howrah Vivekananda Siksha Kendra in Bagnan hasn’t been able to reach the centre because of the lockdown but the centre has reached out to all the children through a few dedicated senior students who are running the show.
All these students are from financially poor backgrounds; but they have still stepped forward to help the children. Some also deliver ration to the families of these children who have had no income during the lockdown.
Each of these students has been assigned certain days of the week to hold classes over the phone and some days to take oral tests on the portions taught. The children (more than 50) are mostly from Classes V to VIII and some in Class IX.
“We have selected academically bright students and the more responsible ones to hold the classes so that the children can benefit and continue with their studies,” founder Tanmoy Patra said. “If not for such an effort on their part, many of the children would have given up. It would have undone all that has been done in the past few years.”
Most of the parents of the children are daily labourers; some pick flowers, while some work in hotels in the city and some work on farms.
Most are first-generation learners who went to government schools. “I conduct the classes and take tests, otherwise they will not study. If we leave them to study on their own, some will not even touch books. We, as seniors, have to ensure they continue with their studies,” Keya Pal, 17, said.
She has her own share of worries — two Higher Secondary papers remaining pending and her father’s income fast drying up. “Only after the exams will we get the results and then take admission to a college. The lockdown has dried up our family income… it will not be easy.”
Another student, Sagar Pal, has been conducting science classes. Cyclone Amphan damaged his father’s crop but he still has been teaching and distributing ration for the past two months.
“These children are in the same space as us… while we have been able to get some direction they have to be guided. If I can do something as a senior why not. It’s not that I am teaching them every day…. I have time for myself and my studies as well,” Sagar said.