Warangal: The Village Learning Circles (VLCs) set up by the Telangana Social welfare Residential Education Institutions Society (TSWREIS) to benefit the students affected due to closure of the schools due to the pandemic, are receiving tremendous response. The VLCs, first of their kind in the country, are helping to engage the children during the pandemic.
The Village Learning Circles (VLCs) are mooted by society Secretary, R S Praveen Kumar, mainly to help the students who hail from the disadvantaged sections. While the VLCs were started in June 2020, a total of 1274 VLCs with a student strength of 5,800 are working in the Warangal region, which includes Warangal Urban, Warangal Rural, Mulugu and Bhupalpally.
According to TSWREIS Regional Coordinating Officer Dasari Umamaheshwari, when schools are closed, students could face attitudinal problems and they are prone to ill habits, especially when the parents are illiterate and there is none to guide them. “There is a risk of children being carried away by silly and false issues. If the children are away from school for a long time, it’s natural that they lose interest in studies. Especially in villages, the children go for work in fields, do odd jobs to earn money,” she explained.
The TSWREI Society explored many ways to quickly reach out to them and through TSAT and online teaching programmes. It also tried its best to reach all the students through the lessons on videos prepared by their own teachers, being shared in WhatsApp groups. ‘Despite such efforts, it was difficult for us to reach most of the students whose parents have no access to televisions, smart phones. Hence there was a need for launching of VLCs.’
The ‘Swaero Commanders’ of the village take care of the gathering of students and be accessible to them for making them learn. The Swaero Commanders, who are the alumni of the Society, are voluntarily working for the benefit of society wards. The Commanders will identify the available accommodation and often take initiative in persuading parents, finding place for VLCs and motivating children to turn up to the classes. In each unit, there will be a few children, say from 5 to 12 students, at the most.
“The senior most students studying in TSWREI Society being helped by their teachers teach the children at the VLCs. The educated Swaero Commanders also often took the role of teachers, wherever necessary. The Graduate or Post Graduate students of the village concerned also came forward to handle the classes for the benefit of children. The VLCs consisted of children from 6th to 10th class, being monitored by one of the senior students. The teachers from our TSWREI Society also took responsibility for teaching, in times of need,” ARCO Thummuri Sharath Babu told ‘Telangana Today’.
All the participants will strictly adhere to the Covid-19 protocol. Though initially, there was a protest from a few villagers who were scared of Corona, gradually perceived the need of such units in the villages and came forward to offer the convenient places for accommodating the small groups of children.
Meanwhile, the TSWREI Society has recently announced gifts of smart phones for the best two VLCs in each region. The two VLC leaders S Shruthi in Madikonda, and Y Ranjith in Jakaram, of Warangal Region, who did a commendable job of successfully maintaining VLCs were provided with smartphones.
In July, there was a proposal to start Village Fitness Circles (VFCs) along with VLCs to promote continuity of fitness, sports activities during lockdown. VLCs turn into VFCs when physical activities are done by the children only to strengthen the academic activities. The fitness activities include aerobics, yoga, martial arts, zumba, calisthenics etc. without ever disturbing the Covid protocol. These VFCs are thoroughly monitored by PD/PETs taking the support of senior students. The VFCs are also successful, as they are helping the students engage in both physical and mental activities with equal strength.
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