Name: Avtar Singh
Age: 46 years old
Location: Bulladewala, Bathinda, Punjab
Work: School Principal
Sports in the tiny hamlet of Bulladewala, is something reserved for senior kids – Primary school children don’t play.
So when Mr. Avtar Singh, Principal of Bulladewala Primary School, found himself at a training camp on sports, initially he was dubious. ACF’s trainers dragged teachers to play frisbee - sweat pouring from his unseasoned Punjabi body, his initial reaction was ‘yikes!’. However, before long Avtar’s inner child emerged, soon he was laughing and running around like a great, big kid. Excited, he returned to his school eager to change things.
Now Bulladewala Primary School was a typical Government school, where attendance was limited to 3, maybe 4, days of the week, tops! So when teachers discussed the concept, there was skepticism. But Avtar’s enthusiasm soon caught on and before long, 2 hours of daily athletics was launched.
Nursery toddlers lined up for running races, giggling their way to the finish line; kindergarten kids tried long jump – leaping into the air with glee; and 1st graders learnt to pass a baton in their very first relay race. The joy of it all was infectious. Attendance levels skyrocketed with almost 100% attendance across all 6 days of the week. And, of course learning levels inched up also. Children were more disciplined, understood teamwork and underwent a complete change in attitude. Their endurance and stamina grew, as did their agility and strength. Optimism was rife as the entire culture of the school transformed.
You can imagine the excitement then, when 40 students were selected to represent the school at the Block Level Games. And when 5 children won medals at District Competition and participated in State Level Competition, well, they could hardly contain themselves!
“We don’t have facilities for other games, but athletics is something that we can do anywhere, easily. Every primary school across India must do this!” Avtar said.