For an hour daily, two Delhi police constables have taken on the role of teachers, helping five children in a south Delhi pocket learn alphabets, rhymes and ways to protect themselves from the deadly COVID-19 in efforts to ensure their studies are not affected during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
With schools closed during lockdown, head constable Tara Chand and constable Neelam have been taking classes for these children for an hour daily since April 10, the police said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said from teaching them rhymes, alphabets, counting, colouring to identification of different parts of a human body, both the constables are teaching the children out of their own interest to ensure their studies are not affected.
"It all began when officials of Greater Kailash police station got information that some distressed people were not getting food in the area. Immediately, food was provided to them and during monitoring, the staff then began "Police ki Pathshala", for children residing in the area to engage them in studies during lockdown," he said.
Constable Neelam said she along with her colleague head constable Tara Chand had gone to distribute food when they noticed these children and enquired about their studies from their parents.
"We conveyed the matter to our senior officers who then guided and motivated us to teach these children during lockdown to ensure they stay engaged and do not miss out on their studies. The senior officers also provided boards, colouring books and other stationary materials for the children," she said.
Two school going girls and three other boys are among the five children who are now students of "Police Ki Pathshala".
While one of the girl is a student of class 1, another is a student of class 4 in a government school in Kailash Colony. The three other children in the age group of three to six years have never been to any school and it was their first learning experience, officials said.
Constable Neelam said the students are not only taught subjects and basics but they are also being made aware about the coronavirus and how to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
"After teaching them, we have developed a special bonding with these children. They are very enthusiastic and eagerly wait to attend classes. We also conduct tests for them. Recently, we gave them papers and told them to colour them to check if they were able to identify the colours," she said.
They now know that coronavirus came from China and that red is a colour used to denote danger. They also know how they should sanitise themselves before rushing to their parents when they return from outside, she added.
The children who reside near a construction plot in Block N of Greater Kailash are being taught at a vacant plot near their residence. Earlier, when they started the classes, there was no fixed time but now since it's summer, the classes are being conducted from 5 pm to 6 pm and the children attend classes wearing masks given to them while also adhering to social distancing, a senior police officer said.
Besides, the parents and labourers living in nearby areas are also been sensitised about the necessary precautions to be taken in the wake of the pandemic. Initially, parents were not willing to allow police to teach their children but later, even they were taught numericals, he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)