The coronavirus lockdowns forced schools to shut down and begin online classes for students. While the easy availability of fast internet in the urban areas made sure that classes ran smooth, children across the rural areas in the country continue to suffer due to the lack of proper internet connections. A 11-year-old girl is changing this. The 11-year old tribal girl from Jharkhand is conducting free classes for her juniors to make sure they do not forget the lessons learned in their schools before the lockdown.
Dipika Minz, who is a class 7 student at a private school in Chandapara village in Khunti, said that when she saw the village’s children playing during the lockdown, she realised that if she herself has started forgetting the lessons taught in her school, then these small kids would have definitely forgotten everything they learned. To counter this, along with an intention to revise whatever she has learned earlier, Dipika started teaching two of her neighbourhood kids in her courtyard.
Dipika told New Indian Express, “Whenever I used to see children playing around my house, I wondered that if I am forgetting what I learned in my school, then the other small children must have been forgetting their lessons as they hardly attended their school for a year or so. Therefore, I asked them some questions which they could not answer properly. Then, I started teaching two students, one was in prep and the other one was in class 2, at the courtyard in the beginning just to revise the things which I learned earlier in my school."
When parents came to know about this, they started sending their kids to Dipika’s classes and soon, she was teaching over 20 students. As the number of students started to increase, Dipika’s friend has joined her and they shifted the class to a platform built around a tree by the Gram Sabha.
After seeing Dipika’s efforts, a meeting was called by the Gram Sabha and it was decided to make similar arrangements for children of higher classes, including Dipika. Madhu Minz, a class 12 student and Lily Sneha Lakra who is pursuing her graduation with English Honours has volunteered to teach the students.
According to Gram Sabha Secretary Amit Kispotta, Madhu and Lily are provided with study materials and they teach the students for free as per their convenience. On the other hand, Dipika teaches the children in the morning at an old school building and later attends the classes conducted by the volunteers. Over 100 students are currently under this arrangement.
Although she has an inclination towards teaching, Dipika wants to become an IAS officer to do good work for the people. Her father, Alok Minz told New Indian Express, “I am really proud of my daughter that she has brought a ray of hope among the parents during the time of crisis when everyone has become hopeless. 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."