On the first of June, the Kerala Government’s Department of Education began online classes for all school students. Though the decision was necessary and the parent and teacher communities have welcomed it with alacrity, many students who lack these digital resources are finding it difficult to attend the classes.
Seeing the struggle that the students are going through amidst the lockdown, a retired school teacher donated his pension money to buy 18 digital tablets for underprivileged students!
“I strongly believe that making a small difference in society can create a huge impact. These 18 tablets were just an effort to help out the students who are struggling during these lockdown days, not that it will solve the entire problem, but it’s a start,” explains 55-year-old P K Vinod Kumar.
In 2018, Kumar, a science teacher at Kodal Government U.P. School, Kozhikode, applied for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) from his teaching career when he started experiencing severe throat pain and was unable to speak clearly in class. Although he applied for the VRS in 2018, the process was delayed and he received the VRS pension amount this year in June.
“The soreness in my throat had become severe and although I could have managed a few more years of teaching, I wanted to do justice to my students and the classes that I took. So I decided to apply for VRS. A lot of people suggested that I invest the pension money in land or save it for the future, but I prefer to lead a simple life and moreover at this point in time my students needed it more than me,” explains Kumar.
“I left it completely upto the teachers and the administration of the respective schools to find eligible students that needed the tablets. They gave me a count of 18 students who were in need of tablets and I provided it to them. Growing up in a middle-class family, I have reached where I am in life with the help of a lot of people and now it’s time for me to pay it back,” says Kumar.
One Of Many Acts Of Kindness
This is just one of Kumar’s several magnanimous gestures. During his teaching career, Kumar provided school supplies and study materials to several of his students who were not able to afford it at the time. He has also been active in the palliative care activities in his panchayat.
Before his retirement, Vinod also set up an annual cash prize in the school where he worked for the topper.
“I strongly believe that every student deserves encouragement from their teachers. It’s not just about passing on your knowledge to these children, it’s about becoming a part of their holistic growth,” he explains.
Currently working as one of the administrative members of the Taluk Library Council and the Parammal Library, Kumar has also penned science-related articles for many educational print publications like Manorama’s ‘Padippura’and Mathrubhumi’s ‘Vidya’. His interest in the environment also led to the publication of two books, ‘Paristhiti Jeevitham’ (Life In the Environment ) & ‘Sasthrathe Ariyuka’ (Understanding Science).
Kumar is also the recipient of the Mathrubhumi Seed Best Teacher Co-ordinator Award and The National Builder Award from The India Literacy Mission.
“My love for the teaching profession may have been passed on to me from my father, P. Velayudhan Nair who was also a teacher. Today, it’s a part of me and although I’ve retired, my interest in teaching will always exist. You could say it’s become a way of life, “ he concludes.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)