For slum kids, Ludhiana lawyer dons teacher’s mantle - ECAS Punjab

For slum kids, Ludhiana lawyer dons teacher’s mantle

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Minna Zutshi

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 7

At a time when schools are closed and studies disrupted, slum children in Ludhiana are learning in the open. Tweaking their usual routine keeping in view the Covid precautions, the concepts of self-study and weekly evaluation have been introduced to the children staying in slums at Hambran Road here.

Around 25 children aged between four and 16 are being taught general science, political science and even mathematics, says Hariom Jindal, who conducts free classes for children of ragpickers staying in the colony. "These kids cannot be left on their own at this juncture. It will derail all our earlier efforts and they may lose their direction," says Jindal, an advocate by profession. "Weaning the children away from ragpicking has been an enormous task. Their families will not be happy to see them back to ragpicking. So, keeping them engaged during the pandemic is essential," he says.

To keep the children's interest intact in education, Jindal has distributed new books among them. These books were written keeping in view the special needs and requirements of children from deprived sections. The children were told to 'prepare' chapters from the books. The brief was clear: Try reading and grasping the meaning, and then share with your friends what you learn.

Teachers associated with Jindal visit the slum daily. But instead of teaching the pupils the usual subjects, they teach them the method of studying. They guide them by resolving their queries and clearing their doubts.

Jindal, during his weekly visits to the slum, helps the children contextualise their lessons and motivates them to build curiosity. "There is no point in rote learning chapters, like the one on taxes. Such chapters have to be understood in the context of our rights. I encourage the children to think for themselves. My effort is to not merely educate the children, but to empower them by encouraging them to ask questions, look for interconnectedness and relate what they learn in their life," he says. For slum residents, it has become a kind of 'habit' to get their children trained under Jindal.

from The Tribune

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