PUDUKKOTTAI: A group of civil service aspirants, all engineers, has decided to pay forward the help they have received from seniors by teaching the children of their village, Thondaiman Oorani, in Pudukkottai, who cannot access online classes.
The group, led by civil engineer Aravind, says that smartphones and online classes are beyond the reach of most children in the village of 1,500 people, given that most of the adults are farm labourers and MGNREGA workers.
Inspired by the guidance and support they received from their seniors for their Tamil Nadu Public Services Commission exam prep, they decided they would step in and ensure the children did not fall behind in their studies.
Aravind roped in his engineer friends Vignesh, Bhavanishankar and Sarathas and the group started the lessons the day after school books were distributed to the students in July. Forty children in Classes 6-10 now attend the daily lessons.
"While preparing for TNPSC exams, I understood that we learn better when we teach others. So I decided to teach these students with my friends. If we teach them, we understand the subject better. It is useful for us and them," Aravind smiles.
With no space in the village for the children to gather, they decided to hold the classes outdoors. They arranged for notebooks and pens for the students, a blackboard for maths lessons bought and fixed a lamp for the night classes.
The group created a timetable, with the morning classes from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm solely for the Class 10 students. The other students have lessons for four hours in the evening. To ensure Class 9 and 10 students are well prepared for board exams, they conduct tests for them every Saturday.
"We teach them however we can. Someone taught us and it helped us greatly. Class 6-10 syllabus is also very useful for our group 1 TNPSC exam prep," says Vignesh, a mechanical engineer.
Parents in the village view the youth and their classes as a 'godsend.'
Soundaravalli, a villager, said her daughters, one in Class 10, the other in Class 7, attend the classes daily.
"We are happy that these boys are helping our children. We don't own smartphones for my children to attend online classes. I am sure 90 per cent of people in our village don't have smartphones,” she says, adding that she’d been worried about their studies before the classes began.
“These boys are a godsend to all of us parents." The children said they found the classes very helpful. "The classes are clear and the tutors are well-versed with the subjects,” is the feedback from Class 10 student Mahalakshmi.
Mahalakshmi, who aims to be an IAS officer, finds the tutors extremely patient with the students.
“They ensure that we have all understood and are patient. The weekly tests are also making us study regularly. If we don't understand anything, it is very easy for us to get our doubts cleared.”