Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow
BENGALURU—Badrinath Vittal, 82, is an exuberant man sharing his story of teaching students online for free in the Covid-19 Pandemic. Vittal is an MTech in Civil Engineering from IIT Bombay and has worked as a hydraulic engineer in the constructions industry for several years working on building dams and related projects. From past 6 years, he and his wife, Indira Vittal, 78, a voluntary teacher, had been taking tuitions for daughters of their cook for free. However, when the Pandemic started, they had switched over to the online mode of teaching for the girls, which was joined later by a couple of other students from the weaker section of the society. After a local Kannada daily on Wednesday published a story on the couple’s free online classes, their phone started ringing non-stop for rest of the day with calls from interested students to enroll in the classes. They got more than 400 calls that day.
Speaking to India Tomorrow, Vittal told that the children are interested to learn if they were given an opportunity and without the financial burden. “I have got more than 400 calls from the length and breadth of Karnataka from the interested students,” he said. On a question to why children were not interested to attend online classes conducted by the schools, he lamented, “Schools are being run as businesses and not as a service to the society, parents don’t have money to get Wifi connection or buy a mobile phone due to the Pandemic, how can they pay school’s full fee for 2-3 hours of online classes, is it fair?” He further added, “We have arranged Wifi connection for some children from our pocket and requested the government to provide smart phones and other required material.”
“I came to know from media that Suresh Kumar, Primary Education Minister (of Karnataka) wants to meet me and provide necessary help to teach students. It will be good if the government can provide mobile phone, internet connection, and other required material to the students”, Vittal said.
Vittal is duly supported by his wife, Indira, in teaching activities. They start their online classes from 6.00 in the morning for 2-3 hours and another session at the evening. Vittal informed that they are in the process of chalking out a plan to segregate students into groups of primary, high, and college (Pre-University) students. The couple is prepared to teach all the subjects for primary and high school students in English language. Indira, who has worked as a teacher in a Rajasthan school, teaches Hindi and Kannada languages.
Vittal informed that they are ready to teach as many students as possible for free and also requested volunteers to join them in their endeavour in imparting education to children in letter and spirit of the “right to free fundamental education” policy. The couple currently resides in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar area of Bengaluru with their children.