Coronavirus has deeply impacted each of us. The virus has taken many lives of many and dramatically changed many others, perhaps forever. COVID-19 also changed the lives of students completely. And while for many it was simply a matter of sitting at home. For many others, it was perhaps an end of many dreams.
But today we meet a police officer, who turned into a teacher, to ensure some students, the children of migrant labourers, keep renewing their hopes and dreams.
Have you ever given a thought about whether students have access to online classes and learning? What about students who are unable to afford a laptop or a mobile phone for online classes? Sub-inspector Shantappa Jademmanavar has an answer for these questions – at least for some students in Nagarbhavi, Bengaluru.
Every day, before heading to work, the policeman teaches students for almost two hours. Many may wonder what subjects a police officer could teach. Well, you’d be surprised to know he teaches Vedic Maths, General Knowledge, Science and Moral Values. Shantappa Jademmanavar spoke to The Better India (TBI) and said, “I feel education is an effective and efficient tool for empowerment. I am a migrant labourer’s child, and I know the difficulties a migrant child would face. The whole teaching plan struck me when I saw students roaming on the roads, not attending classes. I was completely broken to see this plight. I understood that these students were not receiving any education from their parents, as both of them worked as migrant workers to take care of the other necessities of the house.”
The 30-year-old officer used to teach students in an open space with a blackboard. Nowadays, he has switched to a whiteboard, though the lessons remain the same. The sub-inspector said that many sponsors had already gotten in touch with him to help the students. The officer makes sure he gets the best for them. Now the students have solar lights at their sheds, along with clothes and food.
“I teach students from Kindergarten to High School. My students have sponsors, and they are provided with books, bags, solar lights and many other things,” he added.
Speaking to TBI, a migrant worker said, “My daughter is attending classes. She is happy to learn there. I am an illiterate, and I thought my daughter would also be the same. I don’t have a paisa to afford her education. But now things have changed, and our family is also happy about her education.”
Interestingly, the cop policeman has a habit of ‘naming’ the students. If one is called ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, another is known as ‘BR Ambedkar’, and yet another is ‘Udham Singh’.
“One day, my students will become as famous as our leaders. So I like to call them by those names,” he tells TBI with a laugh.
“Sometimes, I find I cannot even recall their actual names as I call them with the names of renowned persons. I am sure that my students will emerge as great souls in the future,” he said.
“My sir calls me Mahatma Gandhi and I love to be called that. I sometimes feel I’ll be as famous as Gandhi Ji when I grow up,” confirmed a student of Shantappa.
Another student said, “I feel so happy to be a student. If Sir comes even five minutes late to class, we students feel sad. I have my own book and pencils which I didn’t have for many years. I hope that in some days, I’ll also be able to see and join a normal school because I love to learn and I want more education.”
With the help of a lady doctor, the policeman also conducted awareness sessions for girl students. “I can happily say that my students now use sanitary pads and have a better life. Many of the students didn’t even know how to use sanitary pads as their parents are illiterate. But now, they are aware of basic hygiene and sanitation. I can proudly say that I have done the best for my students by all means possible,” said Shantappa.
(Edited Vinayak Hegde)