Oman schools unite to spread human ethos

Oman schools unite to spread human ethos

(MENAFN – Times of Oman) Nearly 2,000 children from about 110 schools from the capital region gathered at the Indian School, Al Ghubra to participate in the eighth edition of Serve And Inspire (SAI) Group and Times of Oman’s ‘Spreading the Light Through Human Values’, open essay writing and poster making competition on human values.

Aisha Ahmed Suweidan Al Blushi, director general, Directorate General of Private Schools, Ministry of Education, Sultanate of Oman inaugurated the open essay writing and poster making competition which had multiple themes on human values. The event, which was first held in 2003, is being held in three phases.

The event was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Education, principals, teachers and guests from corporate houses. Other senior officials who graced the occasion from the Ministry of Education included Abdul Aziz Al Rawahy, Director-Licensing, Fawza Lashko, Director, Special Education, Michele Thoghdha, Chief Supervisor, Siddiqa Al Lawati, Dy Director, International Schools, Batool Al Lawati, Dept of Special Education and Masooma Al Lawati, Head of Supervision, Govt Schools, Rayees Ahmed, President, ISG School Management Committee, Papri Ghosh, Principal, ISG and many other dignitaries were present for the inaugural function.

Speaking on the occasion, Aisha Ahmed Suweidan Al Blushi said, “The Serve and Inspire Group has been relentless in its efforts to ensure that they spread the message of human values.” She said the event which is no longer a competition but an experience, has come a long way. “Integrating the government school and getting them to participate is a milestone of sorts,” she added.

Michele Ni Thoghdha from the Department of Private Schools, Directorate General of Education, Ministry of Education said, “The Serve and Inspire Group (SAI) started these competitions eight years ago and they have gone from strength to strength. They have grasped the nettle by the hand and are prepared to do everything possible to ensure that all children in the Sultanate of Oman are provided with the opportunity to reflect upon the five core human values and are challenged into expressing their thoughts and feelings either in essay/poster format. I have watched the number of participating schools and students increase dramatically.”

Privileged

Ahmed Rayees, president, School Management Committee, Indian School Al Ghubra said, “The principle and the philosophy guiding the Serve And Inspire Group is admirable. Our school feels privileged to support the event. After all education in human values lay the foundation for inculcating character in the children. Officials from the Ministry and Indian School, Al Ghubra lauded the efforts of the organisers.”

Phase I was conducted on Thursday at Indian School, Al Ghubra in which students from Omani Arabic, Bilingual, International and Special education institutions in the Capital Region participated. Phase II will be held on April 22 at Indian School, Salalah for the schools in Dhofar Region and at Indian School, Nizwa for the International Schools in Nizwa. Phase III is slated for April 29 at Indian School, Sohar for the schools in Batinah, Buraimi and Dhahira regions and simultaneously at ‘The Training Centre’, MoE, Nizwa for the schools in Dakhiliyah region.

Going by the encouraging response from the schools in the interior regions, it is expected that the enrollment from the schools in Batinah, Dhofar and Dakhliyah regions will cross 1,000 mark from 100 schools.

The topics for both poster making and essay writing are common ‘Health is Wealth’ for ages 6 to 9 (Group A), ‘Respect to Teachers’ for ages 9 to 12 years (Group B), ‘Save Money; Serve Many’ for ages 12 to 15 (Group C) and ‘Life is a Challenge; Meet it’ for ages 15 to 18 (Group D). Participants are given 90 minutes for essay writing and 120 minutes for poster making.

This year being the 40th Year of Renaissance, as a mark of dedication and support to this glorious nation, SAI Group has marked the competition as a National Event and extended coverage to new regions such as South Batinah, Buraimi and Dhahira.

Additionally, towards active participation in the 40th National Day celebrations, SAI Group has been granted approval by MoE to conduct 40 workshops for teachers at various bilingual schools on Human Values. Starting from May, 2010 and running upto March, 2011, interesting modules on teaching of human values using different techniques will be deliberated upon and interspersed with interactive sessions on topics of values, citizenship education and water education.

It is significant to note that this year’s competition on human values by SAI Group working hand in hand with MoE and Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science is a step towards extending its support to Unesco’s initiative, ‘International Decade (2000-2010) for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World’ towards imparting basic values in their lives. Entries for the competition will be judged for creativity, content, technique and efficacy of conveying Human Values by a panel of two judges, one drawn from the community/MOE and one from the organising body, in each of the category and age group.

First, second and third prizes will be awarded in every age group, for each category of schools viz. Omani Government (capital region), bilingual, international, special education, Omani Government (Sohar), Omani Government (Salalah) and Omani Government (Nizwa) for poster making as well as essay writing. In addition consolation prizes will also be given. All participants will be awarded participation certificates. The result of this competition is expected to be announced during third week of May, and the award function will be held during the fourth week of May.

This service initiative of SAI Group is supported with adequate press coverage by Times of Oman Group of newspapers, the creative artworks have been developed by Oxygen LLC (formerly National Publicity and Advertising Co), essay writing and poster papers supplied by Oman Printers & Stationery Co and the events are being hosted by Indian Schools at Al Ghubra, Salalah, Sohar and Nizwa and also the Training Centre, MoE Nizwa.

Young Minds

The objective of this event is to ignite a passion in the young minds to contemplate on human values like truth, peace, love, right conduct and non-violence. This process, though subtle, has the assured effect of warding off negative influences that flood the tender minds of children today as well as transforming them into well behaved individuals.

The Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) programme which has been the source of inspiration for this event and adopted in 165 countries around the world, focuses on character development in children by helping them to learn and practice universal human values. The efforts and research which the participants joyously undertake by going through many inspiring books, listening to the guidance of their teachers and parents and discussing with their classmates and friends, helps them to contemplate on the human values and reinforce positive thoughts in their sub-conscious minds.

The Serve And Inspire (SAI) Group, who are the organisers of this event comprises a team of volunteers committed to human values in all walks of life. They have been conducting blood donation camps as a group involved in spreading awareness of blood donation and participating in the last two decades), health awareness and education campaigns for the needy.

By Murdu Naik

Times of Oman Reference

Govt grants help Sathya Sai school

Govt grants help Sathya Sai school
Peter Caton | 6th April 2010

SEVEN new classrooms, a learning centre, music room and renovations have been completed at the Sathya Sai Primary School in Murwillumbah with the help of Federal Government economic stimulus funds.

Nearly $1.5 million in building and renovation work was officially opened at the school on Friday by Federal MP for Richmond and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot.

The project used $850,000 from the Federal Government’s Primary Schools for the 21st Century grants and a $600,000 from the Association of Independent Schools.

A spokeswoman said the school, which currently has about 100 students, is “now equipped to expand to seven single streams”.

Ms Elliot met with students and staff at the school to view the new and upgraded facilities describing the new facilities as exciting for the children and parents.

A week earlier she opened extensions at St Joseph’s Primary School in South Murwillumbah.

“It has been fantastic to see local principals, parents and tradespeople working together to deliver these important projects,” she said.

“Now that they are completed, teachers and students in our local schools will be teaching and learning in the 21st century facilities.”

Ms Elliot said the “Building the Education Revolution” program had delivered more than $110 million to the electorate of Richmond.

Tween Daily News Reference

The responsibility of parents in values education

The responsibility of parents in values education
Published: 2 Dec 2009

Another area in which parents can help is by encouraging children to have their own opinions about things. If a child becomes aware that his views are respected, then that, too, will give him self-confidence. If everything he says is always made fun of, then he soon learns to hide behind the opinion of the majority—in other words, peer pressure.

Competition and the desire to be first: This is another area that requires delicate handling. Competition means someone wins and someone else loses, and we should all be able to deal with both. Help your children find the rewards for doing their best; show your pride in them for making the attempt. Encourage them to focus on their own effort, not on winning. Let them know that you believe effort counts as much as prizes. It’s just as important to be able to say, “I did my best” as it is to say “I won.” Your children will then learn the value of being as good as they can be, rather than in being better than someone else.

Sathya Sai Baba advises children against being over-competitive:

Sathya Sai Baba: “I do not like competition and strife, this cultivation of egoism through prizes and ranking. Do not let your achievements be spoilt by either pride or dejection. Take failure coolly, and take victory equally coolly. Whether in sport or examination, even when you fail do not be overcome by despair.”

Your child will not always get high marks: There is a fine line between encouraging your children to do their best and making them feel that they are failures when they do not achieve the standard of excellence expected of them. Expecting too much of them can be cruel. Feelings of failure are listed as one of the main causes for the shockingly high number of student suicides. So make sure that your child knows that you love him, whether he brings home top marks or not. Children are often lazy; then try and motivate them. They may not have understood the subject because it has been badly explained; then see if you can give them help. They may not like their teacher (or feel the teacher doesn’t like them) so they don’t feel like putting in any effort; try and sort the problem out, but make sure you are helpful, not condemning.

Sometimes, it is just a matter of accepting that your child is not likely to reach the scholarly heights that you had hoped he would achieve, but does it matter? “Nowadays, parents are anxious to see their children become scholars rather than men and women of character. Only those parents are worthy of esteem who prefer that their children should develop good qualities rather than just academic distinction. Education is part of life, but it is not the be all and end all of life. Virtues are the real backbone of life.” They may need to be shown that academic failure is not the end of the world, and that you are ready to help them make a worthwhile life for themselves in other ways.

Compiled by Sai Institute of Education West Indies

Trinidad Guardian Reference

Parents must set the best example

Parents must set the best example

Sai Reflections
Published: 18 Nov 2009

The following words (author unknown) are worth pondering over:

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love. Praise is good, but don’t overdo it: It has at last been realised that a child does need some encouragement and praise but, like most things, this can be overdone. Give praise when it is due, but don’t shower praise on shoddy work and half-baked efforts. Your child is no fool, and knows perfectly well that it could have done much better, and so loses respect for your judgement if you are too easily satisfied. It is much more helpful to examine the work carefully (whether picture, homework, sandcastle, or anything else) praise the good parts, then give constructive hints on how it could be improved.

In that way, the child will appreciate that you have shown genuine interest, while, at the same time, being encouraged to do better. One needs to build the child’s self confidence, but giving praise where it is not due can produce the opposite result. The child can become addicted to praise and, when it is not forthcoming, a feeling of insurmountable inadequacy then often takes over. The need for ideals: Our aim should always be to prepare our children for life. This means giving them ideals, self-confidence, adherence to values, consideration for others, and the courage to face difficulties. But this also implies that you, yourselves, must practice these virtues. Sathya Sai Baba: “People want happiness in the family, but they fail to lead exemplary lives. The fault lies with both the husband and the wife. If children have taken to wrong paths these days, the parents alone are responsible, as they are not exemplary in their behaviour either.”

Children learn by example: As Sathya Sai Baba says elsewhere, “Parents must set good examples for their children. Parents talk of honesty, but they utter lies in the presence of their children, and even encourage them to speak falsehood. The father, while at home, asks the child to tell the unwelcome visitor that he is not at home! The child is thus taught his first lesson in prevarication by the father himself. There is no use blaming the child if he grows into a social menace.” It is natural for children to imitate the grown-ups around them; that is how they learn. It is no use scolding your child for using some four-letter word that you, yourself, use at every turn. By all means correct the child, but say also that you realise that you must correct yourself as well; you can even ask him to help you correct yourself—he will be very good at it, and you might even succeed in breaking the habit! Sathya Sai Baba: “You should have proper control over your children, but first of all you must have control over yourself. Only when the father is good, can he expect his son to be good. Is it possible for him to keep his son at home if he, himself, roams about as he pleases and goes to places that he should avoid?”

Compiled by Sathya Sai Institute of Education West Indies.

Trinibad And Tobago Guardian Reference


Sai Baba birthday celebrations

The Sai Nilayam at No. 113, New Chetty Street, Colombo 13 will celebrate the 84th birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba on November 23. The program will commence at 5 a.m. The inter-religious flag hoisting ceremony will commence at 9 a.m. and special poojas and bajan will be held the full day. A Sai Chariot Procession will be held on the November 22 at 6 p.m.

Daily News Reference

When Age Is Not A Barrier

Chirag Parmar And Rekha Parmar

Chirag Parmar And Rekha Parmar


When Age Is Not A Barrier
By Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chirag Parmar is proud of his mother Rekha Parmar’s will power to further her education at the University of Fiji.

The best part is he gets to see his mother walk the halls of the university while making his way to his lectures at the same time.

Chirag and his mother attend the University of Fiji and while some feel uncomfortable at the thought of attending the same school with their parents, Chirag feels nothing but pride and love for his mother.

The 19-year old completed his secondary education at Natabua High in Lautoka and is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the established university in Nadi.

“It doesn’t bother me that my mother and I attend the same university or that we’re schooling together,” Chirag said.

“In fact, I have a sense of pride that my mum is making the effort to go back to school and further her education.” Rekha Parmar, 44, was born and bred in Bombay, India and completed a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Bombay.

She came to Fiji in 1990 and started a family, sacrificing her desire to continue with her education.

She said life was different back then because she had a family and her priority was providing for her children.

“I couldn’t continue with school because I had my children to take care of and I decided to work to help support the family,” Rekha said.

“I was always interested in teaching and I joined the workforce. I wanted to make use of my degree and do something.

I was bound with family commitments and I felt that teaching was one of the most satisfying professions.”

Rekha said when her children were old enough to look after themselves she decided to continue with her education.

She was involved with the Smart Kids program for primary school teaching. Her passion for teaching pushed her to enroll in an Edu-care program through the Sathya Sai organisation.

“It was a training centre. I completed a diploma in teaching. I also started taking classes in India for the education and human values program,” Rekha said.

She works at the Computer Studies Center in Lautoka and said her experience at the computer school persuaded her to enhance her qualifications.

“This place offered me the opportunity to continue with my studies and it guided me through the process of gaining higher qualifications,” she said.

“I feel good and happy that I’m able to continue with my education and even though I am in the same university as my son, I am proud of both of us.

After a lapse of so many years, I am proud that I’ve got the opportunity to go back to school.”

Rekha believes it’s never too late to go back to school or to do the things you want to do.

She has this year to complete a postgraduate diploma in teaching.

The eldest son in the family, Chirag said his mother is a good example for many people who think age is a barrier when it comes to getting a good education.

He said she has shown that age does not matter when education is involved and anyone can go back to school.

All they need is determination, hard work and sacrifice to succeed in the end.

“My mother has shown that age is no barrier when it comes to education. I am very proud of her and I’m happy that she has decided to continue with her studies,” said the former IQ Active member of Natabua.

“If you want to succeed in life, you have to get your priorities right. Education is very important and the most vital factor for young people is to listen to their parents and they can achieve success.”

Fiji Times Reference