‘Tech-knowledgy’ takes education to next level in Tamil Nadu's Dindigul

For P Balamurugan, a second-grade teacher at the Panchayat Union Primary School in Jokipatti in Dindigul, the pandemic was more of an opportunity for a rethink.

Published: 08th May 2022 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th May 2022 05:32 AM   |  A+A-

An interactive classroom the team has set up | Express

Express News Service

DINDIGUL: For P Balamurugan, a second-grade teacher at the Panchayat Union Primary School in Jokipatti in Dindigul, the pandemic was more of an opportunity for a rethink. The 37-year-old knew that the odds were stacked up against teachers like him to be able to pass on the lessons to children sitting far away. With no room for personal interaction with the kids, he knew he had to come up with something out of the box to wade through the crisis. That was the beginning of ‘Vanoli Kalvi Dindigul’, an education movement, where WhatsApp groups run by teachers are used to share links of podcasts and video lessons to students, in classes up to Class 8.

The idea has grown leaps and bounds since, as the group has now set up a virtual summer camp where at least 300 kids in primary and middle schools are learning not just texts, but a number of skills, all while having fun. Apart from the lessons, competitions such as quizzes, creating art from waste, drawing, all held through multimedia have piqued their interests.

The teachers, who are the contributors, share the content to Balamurugan, who then creates podcasts, and upload them in various websites, such as, etc,. “These links are shared in the main WhatsApp group, from where the teachers share them to other groups. Within a few days of its launch, many teachers voluntarily rendered their services with content,” says Balamurugan.

“So far, 300 students have joined the summer camp which will end on May 28. We will be distributing prizes for the best participants as well.”

Balamurugan credits the realisation of the whole idea to his friends — C Mythili from Pudukkottai, and M Gomathi from Coimbatore — who had helped him in developing subject-wise audiobooks. He says that currently, around 14,000 government school students are getting benefitted from the pool of content.

He also attributes the success to his team of teachers — S Logamani, S Reeta Rajakumari, C Mythili, S Shanthi, P Suganyadevi, S Nagajothi, P Hemalatha, R Radhika, RN Varunani, and Ravichandran, who is visually challenged. The team’s efforts have been rightfully recognised too, as it landed Balamurugan a chance to participate in the National Science Conference in November last year. He has also received many awards.

According to M Gomathi, a Mathematics teacher at Panchayat Union Middle School in Rakkipalayam, Coimbatore, she had started a similar initiative ‘Vanoli Kalvi Covai’ in Coimbatore in April 2021. She says she had even involved her students in preparing the audiobooks themselves. “Chief Educational Officer N Geetha appreciated our efforts,” she recalls. The programme, however, was discontinued in January 2022, as Gomathi got held up with other activities. She breaks the good news, though, and says that ‘Vanoli Kalvi Covai’ will be relaunched.

Another contributor, C Mythili, a teacher in Pudukkottai, says she has been recording science experiments and sharing them with teachers and students for a while now. She was recognised for her innovative techniques in teaching and received the ‘Innovative Teacher’ award from the State government. With appreciations and recognitions coming aplenty their way, a ceremony was recently organised to encourage the teachers. Even higher officials from the school education department held the programme in high regard and assured that they would widen the scope of the concept across the State.

Meanwhile, V Jayakumar, State Council of Education Research and Training Joint Director and Dindigul District Nodal Officer, also expressed his admiration for the efforts taken by the team. “We are now planning to implement the concept across the district, and involve more teachers,” he said.


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