Setting an example of humanity at such a tender age, an 11-year-old tribal girl in Jharkhand has been providing free classes to teach her juniors so that they do not forget the already learned chapters in their schools.
Dipika Minz, a student of class 7 at a private school in Chandapara village in Khunti, is doing the job so that the students could carry on the learning process amid the pandemic, The New Indian Express reported.
From conceptualising the idea to putting it on the ground, Dipika has done everything on her own. With her innovation, she also inspired Gram Sabha to arrange similar classes for senior students as well. These classes are conducted in batches for different age groups where more than 100 students are currently enrolled.
In the first batch, Dipika teaches English and Maths before attending her own classes' given by other village volunteers.
Started Two Children Initially
According to Dipika, she always wondered how children had continued the learning process without being hampered by the lockdown. When she used to see children playing, she thought if she started forgetting the lessons taught in her school during the lockdown, these children might have overlooked. The idea then struck her mind. Intending to revise what she has learned in her previous classes, she started with two children initially from her neighbourhood and gave them lessons at her courtyard.
"Whenever I used to see children playing around my house, I wondered that if I forget what I learned in my school, then the other small children must have been ignoring their lessons as they hardly attended their school for a year or so.
Therefore, I asked them some questions which they could not answer correctly. Then, I started teaching two students, one was in prep, and the other was in class 2, at the courtyard in the beginning to revise the things I learned earlier in my school," said Dipika to The New Indian Express.
Dipika said that the other parents gradually started sending their wards too after knowing about the classes. She says the total count of children is more than 20 now.
"As the number of children increased further, one of my friends Tannu Sneha Lakra also joined me for support. I also shifted my class to a platform built around the tree built by the Gram Sabha," said Dipika to The New Indian Express.
Wants To Become IAS Officer
Dipika wants to become an IAS Officer in future to serve people. However, she said, presently, she is more inclined towards teaching.
Impressed with her efforts and determination to connect children with studies, the Gram Sabha of the village called a meeting and decided to make similar arrangements for the students of higher classes to teach the learning process.
"During the weekly meeting of Gram Sabha, we thought that if Dipika is teaching her juniors, then who will teach Dipika. Therefore, a proposal was passed to make similar arrangements for Dipika and other students of her age," said Gram Sabha Secretary Amit Kispotta.
He added that Madhu Minz, a class 12 student, and Lily Sneha Lakra undergoing graduation with English (Honours), have also agreed to teach the students.
"We give them study materials, and they teach students for free as per their convenience. Dipika teaches her juniors in the morning at an old school building and then attends her classes later conducted by other volunteers," said Kispotta.
One of the volunteers, Sneha Lakra, said the classes were started on June 3 on the directions of the Gram Sabha. All the arrangements have been made by the village governing institute to the initiative started by Dipika. Sneha said that the classes are being conducted in shifts and more than 100 students are presently under this arrangement.
Dipika's father Alok Minz believes his daughter has brought a ray of hope among parents during the Covid crisis when everyone is surrounded by hopelessness. He said initially, he thought Dipika is just playing with the fellow kids but later realised that she is helping them to learn.
"Being a backward area, online classes is not feasible here, but through the initiative taken by Dipika, children have started getting back to the learning process," he said.
Jharkhand government is presently conducting online classes in 6500 government schools. However, the attendance is below average. Poor connectivity in the villages and lack of smartphones among poor children are considered some of the reasons for low attendance.
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