‘Zero Contact Mohalla School’ is located near the municipal primary school in Wadgaon ward, Chandrapur, Maharashtra. The headteacher here is Pradeep Deshmukh, a corporator/local politician, who’s also the brain behind this initiative.
Deshmukh, who is well-known for his innovative enterprises, is the reason this school began the previous year. He worries about the education of children who belong to low-income families because, unlike children of private schools, they could not afford to attend online classes. Due to school closure, these ‘mohalla’ kids suffered a huge loss in studies which is why Deshmukh himself decided to start taking classes.
“While students of private schools are attending online classes, these children from poor strata of society are completely cut-off from studies. Even as schools are shut to prevent physical contact among students, these children can be seen playing together against all Covid norms,” said Deshmukh.
Deshmukh, along with other volunteer teachers, begins school every day at 8 am and teaches children from pre-primary to grade 8 till 10 am. According to him, this school was the pilot for this kind of project and he plans on developing more such ‘Mohalla Schools’ in his ward for underprivileged students. His attempts saw great enthusiasm from the kids as well as the parents since the beginning of the school saw over 80 children craving studies. In a country where politics is known to be infamous for bringing immense trouble, Deshmukh’s endeavours have become a light bringer for these children during these difficult COVID times.