By Shaheryar Hossain
She may be a teacher by profession but she is a learner by heart– by going to her computer classes at the age of 48, Rehana Hossain emerged as the oldest student in her batch.
Her age did not deter from learning even formally. She pursued her Basic Computer & Communication Skill Course with in a classroom setup where her mates were mostly children. Interestingly, the venue where she pursued her course is the same place where she teaches students in the morning.
Hossain, is a teacher at Kolkata Municipal Corporation-run-school named Sir Iqbal Shishu Shiksha Kendra situated at Bright Street, furtively explained Maeshat how her phobia of computer illiteracy gave her inspiration to learn the language of computer.
“It was 10 years ago I felt that I am a computer illiterate. Then I had a wish to learn computer. I was unfit to get admission at computer course in other computer training institutes because I was over age,” she said.
However, she pointed out that pursuing the three-month computer course was challenging on her part but it is made easier because of her computer teacher Ms Sujata Latif. “After hearing that from September 2013 a new computer course will start at our school premises under the banner of Allama Iqbal Computer Training Centre, I urged the concerned authority to enroll my name as a student. Instead of rejecting my name due to my age, they appreciated my zeal of learning and allowed me to take admission,” explained Hossain.
“Teaching Rehana is a remarkable experience for me. Being eldest student, she never felt shy of learning the basics of computer with teen age students. Earlier, Rehana was afraid of working with mouse. In fact, she had mouse phobia. But gradually she handled it smartly,” said Latif.
“During the initial days of the computer course, I was afraid. This apart, I was feeling shy that I am learning with students who are at the age group of my children. Then I felt that if I do not overcome the shyness, I won’t be able to achieve anything. I strongly believe that there is no age for learning. I found my computer teacher is in the same age of my daughter,” she said.
According to her, surviving in this competitive world without computer is impossible. Since her school days she was determined to become a teacher. The journey of her from a school student to a teacher at Sir Iqbal Shishu Shikhsha Kendra was full of constraints and hardship. “When I was a school student I decided to become either teacher or doctor. I also dreamed to actively involve in the mission of eradicating illiteracy, a social ill, from my city as well as my country. I wanted a profession that would have direct contribution to the progress of the people of our society. At last landed up becoming a teacher because I did not have enough money and scope to pursue MBBS,” she pointed out.
She got the inspiration of becoming a teacher from her late father Abdul Bari, who was head teacher at a Kolkata Municipal Corporation school in Kolkata and brother Abdul Rub, who is recently retired as the head teacher of Park Circus Primary School in Kolkata. “By the time I could understand the happenings of the world, my father was gone. I am grateful to my late mother Zubeda Khatoon who worked very hard to meet the expenses of my education till the primary standard. From primary level to secondary, my brother bore the expense of my education,” she added.
Rehana elaborates that she didn’t face any hurdle to get the job. Her passion of teaching led her to become a teacher easily “One of my neighbours offered me to take adulation classes without charging salary. I agreed to teacht free of cost. Again my neighbour came up with a Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s scheme of teaching under privileged children in our locality. Based on my teaching experience, I was asked to join as a teacher at Sir Iqbal Shishu Shiksha Kendra,” she said.
According to his instruction, she surveyed under privileged 6 – 14 year old children in her locality who were not going to school and convinced the parents to send their children to her free school. With a batch of 40 students, she started the school. “Till one year, we taught without getting a single penny. And then my neighbor suggested me to close the school as we are not getting salary. I objected to his suggestion. I told him getting salary is not my aim, imparting education is my objective and passion. No matter I am not getting money but I will continue teaching. Even teaching is a kind of prayer. I am graceful that under privileged children will get benefited by me,” she said.
However, at last but not the least Kolkata Municipal Corporation passed its KMCP school scheme and started paying salaries to the teachers from 2001.
However, Rehana, feels there are more to learn and more to give, a truly active and social citizen.