The initiative by Mahabubabad Collector aims to groom students in the board game in order to improve their cognitive skills
Hyderabad: Before attending their regular online classes in the morning, the students of Tribal Welfare Gurukulam in remote tribal areas of Mahabubabad appear for online chess classes on Zoom. About ten students from Class 6 to 10 are enthusiastically learning chess under the guidance of their coach ever since the pandemic led to the closure of educational institutions.
Mahabubabad Collector VP Gautham came up with the idea to groom these students in chess in order to improve their cognitive skills.
“There is a presumption that tribal students are good in typical sports like cricket but not in the games which require presenting their mental ability. I wanted to break this myth. I got in contact with Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society Secretary Dr RS Praveen Kumar and put forth the idea. He was very supportive and immediately sanctioned Rs 10 lakhs,” said Gautham, who initiated the concept for tribal students at Kothagudem and Bhadrachalam during his stint as a project officer at Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA).
Instead of waiting for schools to reopen, he proceeded with the idea immediately and provided tabs to a set of students so that they can take classes online. They were also given login credentials for some apps like Lichess and Chess Ace, which international players use for online tournaments.
The students discuss and play among themselves sharing their screens on Zoom and sometimes compete against players from other countries as well. Along with students from tribal welfare school, 30 students from social welfare schools are learning chess online for which Dr Praveen Kumar sanctioned another Rs 10 lakh.
The Collector believes this is certainly a great exposure for students and it also helps in improving their academic performance.
“Students are very much enthused. At times, they even skip watching movies to attend chess classes. Some students, who live in habitations without proper internet connectivity, travel about 5 to 10 km to the outskirts of town, and listen to classes wherever the network is available,” added Gautham, who hopes to see Grandmasters from tribal areas soon.
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