BENGALURU: Each morning at 7, as many as 30 children from a hamlet in Nagarbhavi gather at an open space to learn from their friendly neighbour, a 30-year-old police-teacher. From what states you cover when travelling from Bengaluru to Delhi to who is the Chief Minister of Karnataka, children of migrant labourers are being taught life skills, general knowledge and Vedic Math by Shanthappa Jademmnavar, subinspector of Annapoorneshwari Nagar.
“My duty starts at 8.30am, so I teach them for an hour from 7 am,” he told TNIE. Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar who paid a visit to the class on Thursday, lauded Shanthappa. “These children do not have a tab, television or access to online/ distance classes.
Some of the families in the hamlet have a feature phone, a few have smartphones, but even to charge that there is just a single point access and is a hassle. The area where they live has no electricity,” Shanthappa said. The government’s Vidyagama project that ought to send teachers to students’ locations also failed here. “There is a lack of proper coordination between the teachers and children who are enrolled in government schools.
Teachers call the children to the park and children do not know which park or location to go to,” he said, admitting that students have been missing out on regular classes. Following the minister’s visit though, Shanthappa saw some ray of hope for the children’s education. “Benefactors have offered to buy books, bags and pens for the children,” he said.
“For now, I offer an incentive of a chocolate or a geometry box to students who complete their homework,” he added. Talking about the plight of the children, he said the migrant families are living in a cramped space with no electricity or water or no provisions stores around. Shanthappa, who had visited the residences of the children, had to reach out to the parents to allow him to teach the children. “I told them how important education was to get their children a better living. They agreed,” he added, recalling that he too was a migrant labourer, after having lost his father two decades ago.