Shivling Kalantre, Jyotirling Public School, Panhala, Kolhapur
In a world often consumed by personal pursuits, some individuals stand out for their steadfast commitment to giving back to society. Even after achieving personal success and comfort, their hearts are set on uplifting and nurturing the growth of humanity. One such inspiring individual is Shivling Kalantre, who embarked on a mission to establish a remote school in Kolhapur, driven by the desire to provide quality education to underprivileged children. His story resonates with the belief that true fulfillment lies in contributing to the betterment of others, embodying the essence of compassion and dedication to humanity’s progress.
Shivling’s passion for Karate led him to become an international gold medalist, earning numerous national gold medals as well. Excelling in sports during his B.P.Ed (Bachelor in Physical Education) course, he later became a physics teacher in Pune after completing school.
As the first in his family to finish college, reflecting on his journey, Shivling firmly states, “I believe it’s my passion and determination that guided me to pursue my dreams and find success in my education career.”
Come 2008, the Maharashtra government made a significant announcement that no student would fail until the 8th standard. This decision left Shivling deeply concerned, as he believed it could negatively impact students’ education, especially in rural areas where parental involvement was less. He expresses, “This decision could have a negative impact on student’s education,” fearing that children might not take their studies seriously and would lag in basic concepts until the 8th standard. He believed this could “increase their chances of dropping out and decrease their prospects in a competitive world.” Stressing on this situation, he adds, “I was inspired to open my own school in a remote rural area to address these concerns and work towards my dream project during my holidays.”
How the school started
In 2009, Shivling and his friends registered a school and even purchased land for it. This was a big moment for him as he began turning his dreams into reality. As a teacher, he had coached many students in national and international sports competitions at another school. However, this time, he was about to influence the lives of his own students.
During this period, he made a life-changing decision to leave the comforts of city life and live in a rural area. Although this decision initially upset his wife, she later supported him as best as she could.
By 2011, Shivling’s school board was moved to a remote area near the foot of a mountain. Initially, he was concerned about attracting students and gaining attention, especially with established schools nearby. “I set up both boarding and non-boarding schools, prioritizing safety and top-notch education to appeal to parents,” he shares. He expresses deep gratitude for parents who trusted him with their children despite the school lacking an official affiliation. The school began with just 22 residential and 60 non-residential students, but, in his words, “Our hard work and dedication have made it flourish over the years.”
Purpose of the hostel and how it works
Jyotirling School stands out as an outstanding institution prioritizing sports and physical activities. Its founder strongly advocates for children spending more time playing outdoors rather than being glued to mobile devices. This belief led him to establish a sports-focused school dedicated to fostering well-rounded development, including mental, physical, and emotional growth. As Shivling states, “It’s not just about winning games; it’s about instilling life skills and values for the students’ long-term benefit.”
“Our students’ day starts at 5:30 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m., packed with studies, physical exercise, sports, and entertainment,” he assures, adding that beyond regular school hours, the students have additional study and revision hours every day. Evenings are dedicated to sports, where students receive expert coaching in about 10-12 sports. Shivling ensures round-the-clock care and emphasizes, “We provide quality food, ample exercise, and academic progress.”
He also underscores the school’s commitment to keeping the fee collection process parent-friendly, saying, “Parents trust us for this reason.” Due to hard work and honesty, he proudly states, “We now have 250 residential and 50 non-residential students.”
Shivling’s innovative educational approach is inspiring. He has enlisted retired army officers to provide military training to interested students. The school equally emphasizes academic aspects by offering computer and science labs, emphasizing quality education.
As Shivling believes, “We can’t gauge a student’s potential solely by their sports and academic achievements, making it commendable that the school nurtures students’ extracurricular interests.” Initiatives like the music room, where students can learn instruments like Tabla, Casio, and guitar from professionals, demonstrate their dedication to tailoring education to students’ hobbies and preferences.
It’s truly inspiring to witness Shivling taking immense pride in his remarkable sports achievements, securing 30-35 national gold medals. He aims to empower his students to excel internationally and bring pride to the nation. His students, in turn, hold him in high regard as he instills a profound sense of social responsibility in them through various community service activities, such as aiding drought-affected people. As Shivling puts it, “I believe in shaping not just athletes but responsible future leaders of our society through sports and social service.” His unwavering dedication and passion are shaping the future leaders of our society.
Pandemic and Varthana
During the pandemic, conducting online classes was challenging due to limited technology access. Shivling explains, “Many parents did not have an Android phone, making it difficult for them to participate in virtual learning.” However, when schools reopened, they compensated for the learning gap by taking extra classes and reducing extracurricular activities and holidays. He says, “To ensure that all students are retained, the school did not collect fees from parents during the closure period.”
Shivling is recovering well from the impact of COVID-19 and is now more determined than ever to improve his dream school. He shares, “Thanks to a loan from Varthana, we are constructing a hall for indoor games, including carom, table tennis, chess, and, most importantly, wrestling. Wrestling is a beloved game in Kolhapur, and many parents have been asking for it.”
Kalantre believes that by investing in a new wrestling set, he can attract more students to his school and provide them with exciting new sports opportunities. In his words, “Varthana’s support is helping turn my dreams into reality.”
Shivling has outlined his ambitious plans. “I aim to establish an exemplary sports school and be a leading brand in the future,” he states. Additionally, he envisions his students excelling in esteemed government positions like IAS and IPS. To achieve this, he diligently prepares them for competitive exams, including scholarships, MMS, MTS, and Navoday. Looking ahead, he plans to introduce vocational and coding courses.
“Even though the school currently goes up to the 10th standard, I am determined to expand it to the 12th standard soon,” he concludes, showing his strong commitment to his profession.