Maharashtra : Connectivity issues turns teen students into teachers at village

by amolwarankar

Mumbai: A group of children aged between 16 to 20 years took initiative to teach the children younger to them following insufficient e-tools teaching resources for them. The 30 children of different age groups gather in a tribal hamlet of Taralpada in Jawhar Taluka of Palghar district, around 130 km from Mumbai, at 9 AM every day to attend alternative school initiated by older students of the hamlet. This is a fun school where they play informative games, sing songs along with regular studies.

The schools conduct classes for children aged from six to 15 who used to go to the residential school far away from their villages but due to coronavirus the schools are shut. The teenage teachers take two hours school every day in two batches- Class 1 to 7 as one batch and 8-10 as another. This started a month ago. The main reason being most of the children forgetting how to even read or write.

Parshuram Bhore, resident, Taralpada who teaches at this school says, “Because of the lockdown, most of these kids used to just play in the village. Hence they have forgotten everything in the last 4-5 months”. Along with Bhore, his friends from the village, teach them Marathi, English, Mathematics.

The Palghar is a land covered with forest and home to 37% of tribal population. It does not have good phone network which forbids the internet connectivity. Jawhar has nearly 90% tribal population which makes the condition even worst.

The residents of Jawhar are tribal and migrant labourers, find it difficult to even feed their families two square meals, making buying a smartphone a distant dream for them. The concept of online learning severely impacted the marginalised children. A local NGO, Shramjeevi Sanghatana to help these children gave teaching training to the teenager students so that they can teach the younger lot free of cost. These schools are organized on alternate days

Sita Ghatal, social worker, Shramjeevi Sanghatana says, “There is no online education anywhere in this area.There is an issue with the connectivity, smartphone. So, it can’t happen here.”

In India, coronavirus followed by lockdown has took priviledge of education from many marginalized tribal students but people are finding there ways out of the obstacle, one such initiative is by teachers of Pitchandi Middle School and the parents contributing money to arrange Transport facility for student to travel to school. The children here study in open space at Siraikadu in Theni district.

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