On 11 July 2021, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Vikas Chandra Srivastava decided to start his own YouTube channel called ‘DSP Ki Paathshala’, with the aim of providing free guidance and support to students appearing for various State Commission and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations.
Speaking to The Better India, Vikas says, “While I have always been drawn to teaching, the pandemic pushed me to take the classes online. What I have realised is that this way I am able to reach so many more aspirants from all across the country. My channel is meant not just to provide academic help but also motivate aspirants and help them find their calling.”
Investing in classes can be expensive and many of the aspirants who have been attending Vikas’s online classes do not have the means to pay for it.
“I have students from varied backgrounds in my classes. While they are not economically well off, the one thing common in them all is the fire in their belly. They are sincere about attending classes and meticulously get their doubts cleared.”
Speaking about some of the students who log in without fail, he says, “I have so many students whose fathers either work as farmers or daily wage labourers. For them to be able to commute daily to get the classes would have been a nightmare and being able to log in for online classes has helped them. Some of the girls who are my students are also extremely bright and diligent.”
These classes are held in the evenings from 8pm onwards and on average, there are close to 100 students who log in for each class.
Vikas’s objective is to try and remove the phobia of examinations from the minds of these aspirants.
“Learning, not just to clear an exam or get a good score, but to be able to become better citizens is the end goal. While I can teach them how to crack the competitive examinations I intend to teach them how to study and thus make them self-reliant,” he says.
While this is the first time that Vikas has started teaching aspirants online, he has been teaching for as long as he can remember.
“Even when I was posted as the SDPO in Deoghar, I would visit a library close by and take classes there,” he says.
Priti Kumari (25) a resident of Deogarh who was part of Vikas’s in-person class in 2019 says, “It was such a blessing to have found sir (Vikas). He managed to make even the otherwise boring NCERT books so interesting to study. Every concept that he taught me is etched in my memory – whether it was Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement or understanding geography, we could not have asked for a better teacher.”
She says that the classes would often have more than 600 students and even those who never stepped foot into a library would come running for the classes.
“While officially the time for each class was 1.5 hours, even sir would often lose track of time and go on teaching us. The day he told us about his transfer was such a sad day for us. We wish he didn’t have to leave.”
With work ending at around 6.30 p.m. each day, Vikas says that he spends ample time every night researching and making notes for his class the next day.
“Some topics come easily to me given the nature of my work and for some others I do my own share of reading up and making notes. I believe that students will be able to retain and recollect better if they have a visual reference of all that I teach them.”
To make this happen, he has set up a white board in one of the rooms in his home where he conducts the Zoom classes from.
The recording of the class is also uploaded immediately on YouTube and students who missed class can benefit from it.
“The aspirants who are very serious about wanting to crack the examination always log in, while a few others come to the YouTube channel as and when they find the time for it,” he adds.
Classes are conducted four times a week and Vikas says that he informs the students beforehand via Telegram groups that he is part of. These groups also serve as a place where doubts are often cleared.
To access the content created by Vikas, click here.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)