The helpers (akkas) at the National Public School, Koramangala, can now converse with teachers and students in English, thanks to the TeachpoWer programme, which has been introduced by the school. English classes for the helpers are held on a daily basis for about an hour, and they are taught by 24 student volunteers studying in class 9 and 11.
From alphabets, recitations to word-making sentences, the helpers are taken through the basic syllabus for beginners.
Whenever they have some time to spare, the helpers go through English newspapers and books in the library and complete their homework.
“I encouraged my children to study in an English medium school but never thought that I would be able to communicate in English as well. Earlier, all helpers knew only Kannada and struggled hard to manage students and communicate with teachers. Today, there are 14 helpers to aid students and teachers, and our lives have changed in the past two years,” Gomathi, a 34-year-old helper at the school who studied up to class 10, told The Times of India.
This student-run project began in December 2015, when the school organised a competition to help the students get to know the helpers better. The students were intrigued by their stories and realised that language was a barrier as the helpers only knew how to converse in Kannada. A programme like TeachpoWer has enabled them to bridge the communication gap.