In the tribal settlements of Telangana’s Kumuram Bhim Asifabad district, children gather around the walls in their villages to look at what is painted on them.
The art on these walls consist of Telugu and English alphabets and basic mathematical tables, which act as lessons for the younger children to keep in touch with learning. With education shifting completely online, the children, who do not have access to the internet or internet devices, have lost out on learning in the past year.
But the lessons painted on the walls, which is an initiative of the police, have helped them stay in touch with the concepts.
Nearly two months ago, through their field visits and patrolling, Tiryani Sub Inspector Pushpala Rama Rao and his staff figured out that children, especially those below 10, were forgetting the concepts they learned in school. In order to help the 350-odd children, the police arranged for the ‘wall lessons’ to be set up in 30 Adivasi gudas in the district.
Speaking to TNM, SI Rama Rao said, "In this mandal, more than 60% of the villages/ settlements don’t have internet connection or basic mobile network; even if there is, the families can’t afford smartphones. So, an alternative solution, we have initiated this wall teaching programme in all the gudems.”
"We are encouraging some older children who are in Class 7 or 8, or any intermediate students, to take the younger children around the walls in village junctions or houses and teach them, in order to keep them in touch with learning," he added.
The officer said that the initiative is getting positive response from the children as well as other local residents. He said, "For now, we are keeping the lessons very basic. We are targeting younger children because there is a higher chance of them forgetting everything they learned in school before the pandemic. Village elders are also encouraging the initiative.”
According to the police, children from Mangiguda, Hostelguda, Rompalli, Mesramguda Pangidimadara, Morriguda and Talandiguda gudems have become regulars in taking up the wall lessons.
Kumuram Bhim Asifabad district contains dense forests, whose population comprises vulnerable tribal communities like Gond, Mannevar, Thotti, Koya, Naikpod, Pardhan and Kolams. These communities have historically been marginalised from development.
(This story was originally published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission. Read the original story here.)