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

Water Education For African Cities

Sathya Sai Baba And Water Eduation

Sathya Sai Baba And Water Education

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Philosophy and Methodology of Education with a Focus on Water Education for African Cities
by Victor Krishna Kanu

IN THE RECENTLY PUBLISHED book “Water – the Elixir of Life”, documenting many drinking water projects of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during the last decade, we read:

“Next to air, water is the element most essential to sustain human life. It is therefore no wonder that in ancient times, people in all societies revered water as a wonderful gift of God. Almost all major religions have an important place for water in their rituals; these involve cleansing, blessing, ablutions of various kinds and offerings accompanied by the pouring of water.”

Water as a Basic Element
According to the story of creation in the Bible (Genesis 1: V1-2), we are told: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth ….. the earth was without form ……. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. This shows the part played by water in the beginning and sustenance of life as perceived by Bible believers.

Truly, water is sacred and must be treated as such by all its users. Yet, there are billions of people on this planet to whom good drinking water is not available or accessible.

Sri Sathya Sai Water Supply Project India
Responding to the dire needs of the people of the scarcity affected regions of Andhra Pradesh, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba declared in March 1995 that He was going to provide drinking water to the villagers who had been the victims of acute drinking water shortages for more than a century. Sri Sathya Sai Water Supply Project was thus started which has provided water to millions of villagers of Anantapur, Medak, Mahboobnagar, East Godavari and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh during the last 10 years. It has also met the acute drinking water shortage of the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. All this was possible through the unlimited love and grace of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to all mankind. As He Himself says: “I am always ready to help you and serve you. You may belong to any village or any district ……… I do not have any feelings of difference – religious, regional or national. I do not go by the position of the people or the place to which they belong. All are the same to Me and I serve all equally”. Bhagavan’s example of His concern for the supply of water is being replicated by many countries of the world.

Water in African Cities Project
There exist many dissimilarities in African countries in terms of size, water resources, water management styles, economic differentials, social and environmental norms related to water, etc. Yet their national goals and objectives are basically similar. They all have, as their main goal, the provision of adequate cost- effective and good water supply for all (the economic and social dimensions of water). In cognizance of the fact that these goals cannot be achieved in isolation, these countries have, as complementary goals, the maintenance of a good environment, avoidance of water wastage and pollution, prevention of vandalism and illegal connections; discouraging late or non- payment of water bills, non-tampering of water meters, prevention of water riots and water wars, eradication of corruption and enhancement of adequate sanitation and better hygiene practices through technical and regulatory measures. In pursuit of their goals and objectives, the African cities have been using different strategies as leverages towards the realisation of their national goals. Overall, these strategies have not produced the desired results of reaching national goals and objectives. This is because of the absence of second tower that lays emphasis on the transformation of attitudes and behavioural patterns of water users and providers. UN-HABITAT have for a long time been searching for a tool or mechanism that will enrich and strengthen Water Education strategies in Africa.

Human Values Approach to Water Education in Africa
The introduction of the water education initiative was preceded by an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) convened by UN-HABITAT in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Swedish International Water Institute (SIWI) in Johannesburg, South Africa from 30th April to 2nd May 2001. The meeting brought together international and regional experts on education, curriculum development, urban development, water resources management and NGOs active in water education. The objectives of the meeting were to share information on the ongoing water problem in Africa, develop a broad consensus among all stakeholders with regards to the most effective strategy for introducing Water Education in-African cities, agree on sharing of responsibility for project implementation by different partners and develop an action plan for the project implementation.

An important outcome of the Expert Group Meeting was the consensus acceptance of the paper presented by the Director of the African Institute of Sathya Sai Education (TAISSE) with the title “Water Education: A Human Values Approach” which was, in fact, a reproduction of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s philosophy and methodology of Human Values Education in its pristine form. The recommendation arising therefrom was the pursuance of a Human Values Approach to introducing Water Education for African children and communities.
Understanding Water Education

What is Water Education? From the point of view of the Human Values approach, Water Education is not just about water literacy (knowledge of the science of water, types, sources, uses, treatment, management and its associated problems, etc). These are, of course, important tangibles. However, Water Education is also about intangible things that are equally important. These include people’s perceptions of water, the level of their consciousness towards water usage, awareness of their civic responsibilities towards water, cultural beliefs and practices in relation to water. In short, it is about Human Values – about the country’s sense of duty, the obligations members have to each other, to the use of water itself and to future generations.

A country’s sense of duty ought to be strengthened through Human Values Education towards the management of water and other resources which took billions of years to develop and yet, which would be diminished or exhausted within a relatively short period of time.

There is, thus, a compelling need for the introduction of Human Values in Water Education as a complimentary to the existing technical and regulatory measures in water demand management. In this manner, Water Education will stand firmly on the twin towers of water literacy and Human Values – their understanding, commitment and practice.

The Expert Group noted that Water Education should aim at promoting a better understanding of water as a key social, economic and environmental resource and should facilitate the emergence of a new water management ethic on the continent. It is observed that the introduction and implementation of Value- based Water Education (VBWE) through formal, non-formal and informal channels of learning, especially through the use of the curriculum is a promising strategy to bring about a positive and lasting change in attitude and behaviour towards water at all levels of society.

Value-based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education (VBWSHE)
Having been inspired by the successful implementation of Bhagavan’s Values Education programme at the African Institute of Sathya Sai Education (TAISSE), Ndola, Zambia, many countries in Africa today are involved in Value-based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education (VBWSHE) programmes.

In 2002, TAISSE was contracted for two years by UN-HABITAT to implement the first phase of Value- based Water Education (VBWE) in six African counties. By the grace of Bhagavan, this was successfully completed in 2004. Impressed with the effectiveness of the values programme in the six African countries, the UN-HABITAT again asked TAISSE in 2005 to implement the second phase of the Value-based Water Education programme to include Sanitation and Hygiene Education, known as Value-based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education (VBWSHE) in twelve African countries. This Cooperation Agreement will end in 2007. This is indeed a major contribution of Bhagavan’s education programme, which is essentially philanthropic in its nature, to the upliftment of the African continent.

Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Project Zambia
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s water projects in India have inspired Sai Education Trust (SET) of Zambia to follow Sathya Sai Baba’s example in the provision of drinking water to the poor. In a small way, the Trust, in May 2005, embarked on the task of providing free clean drinking water to disadvantaged townships surrounding Sri Sathya Sai School, Ndola, Zambia. Ten bore-holes ranging between 60 and 97 metres deep with submersible and hand pumps were drilled in five townships where people had been greatly disadvantaged for centuries past in terms of good drinking water. The sprouting out of water and the simultaneous response of many children as expressed in their shouting and clapping was a moving experience.

There is no doubt that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba will forever remain a powerful role model in the provision of water to the less-privileged people of the world.

Sourced: Sanathana Sarathi pgs 344 to 347 – November 2005

Sathya Sai Education In Overseas Countries

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Sathya Sai Education In Overseas Countries
Dr. Pal Dhall

THE FORMAL EDUCATION SYSTEM developed over the last two hundred years in the West and now universally adopted is flawed. It fails to meet the real needs of the children, the family, the community or the nation. It was developed in the industrial age and its main objective was to secure economic well-being of nations. It promotes inequality and competition and divides the world into rich and poor nations. Such an education with its emphasis on technical and academic achievements does not promote holistic development of the child. Crime, drug addiction, depression, anxiety, family tensions, violence, delinquency and suicides are on the increase in all the countries of the world. The natural resources are being freely exploited and the planet is reaching non- sustainability. Educationists agree that most of these problems could be solved if we reform education to meet its two goals – development of character and academic excellence. But they have not been successful in reforming education to attain both these goals.

Philosophy of Sathya Sai Education
Sathya Sai educational institutions are based on the philosophy of education propounded by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He gives equal importance to educational achievements and spirituality. He emphasises that education must give technical knowledge as well as skills to lead a balanced life.

The children must develop insight and understanding into their own life’s purpose. They must develop a lively social conscience and serve society, and develop a strong identity with their family and culture, nation and humanity. Sathya Sai Schools are based on these central features of Bhagavan’s philosophy. They aim at human excellence through developing all personality domains – physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual, and not just the intellectual. These schools do not charge any fees. They follow the mainstream government curriculum. In these schools, the culture is suffused with human values of peace, love, truth, right conduct and non-violence. There are now dozens of Sathya Sai Schools in overseas countries. Many of these schools were started in the 90’s, and more and more are being established all the time. They are models of how human values can be integrated with the school curriculum to achieve the real aims of education – character development and academic excellence.

Institutes of Sathya Sai Education were established to manage and oversee standards in the Sathya Sai Schools, to train teachers in Education in Human Values (EHV) and to form professional links (or partnerships) with government or private schools for EHV. They have the task of developing EHV programmes appropriate to their local culture, to create awareness and guide government schools to establish such programmes. The question arises as to what extent the Sathya Sai Schools and Institutes have succeeded in their avowed aims and objectives. What is the impact of Sathya Sai Education?

Impact of EHV on Children
There is a global trend towards a materialistic culture based on technology and commerce. In this culture, television, rapid communication, mobile phones, internet, computers and CD players are important elements. Children’s main entertainment is from watching TV, and a significant part of their time is spent with the computer, isolated from others. A lot of values, language and role models are based on what they watch on the TV. The programmes often glorify violence and are sensual. Children are, in general, more lonely now because the size of the family is smaller (with fewer children), and neighbourhood where the children can play with others is less safe. Moreover, both the parents work away from home and the time spent with the family has decreased. As a result of all these trends, children now have less well-developed social and emotional skills. Their language is not anchored in values and their morality is weak. Many children have problems with concentration because they have become passive from watching too much television. The violence that they see on the television makes them fearful and indifferent to pain and suffering. In fact, they see war and violence as a part of everyday life from watching world events.

Sathya Sai Schools counteract these by giving children capacity of focus through silent sitting. Their discrimination is nurtured as also their problem-solving skills. Many techniques used in Sathya Sai Education give children good social and emotional skills and enhance their understanding of morality. Transformation of children is the main purpose of these schools.

People observe that when children from many schools are gathered together, those from Sathya Sai Schools are identifiably different. They are more disciplined, gentle, kind, friendly, and in general have better social skills. Parents are the first to notice their children’s transformation. Their children become more respectful, assume greater responsibilities, go to bed and rise early, do not watch as much television, are more attentive and focused, more interested in their studies, and more diligent with the tasks assigned to them. Several parents have commented that their children have become aware of wastage and are conscious of the need to recycle toys, clothes, paper and water. They say their prayers before eating and show respect for food. In a number of Sathya Sai Schools – Australia, Thailand, Africa, Latin American countries, Taiwan, parents have expressed delight to notice how their children are fresh and content when they come home from the school and believe that silent sitting, daily prayers, and vegetarianism promoted by the schools contribute to this. Some parents remark on the peace and harmony in the classrooms and have observed that the school atmosphere is conducive to learning; the teachers are dedicated, caring and good role models. Many parents move from other areas specifically to be close to a Sathya Sai School in order to enrol their children.

Experienced teachers who come to Sathya Sai Schools from government schools have noted that the children are eager to learn. They are loving, more friendly, caring and helpful to others. In the Australian Sathya Sai School, children were friendly even to a violent child, regarding him with affection. They are keen to look after the school, attending to cleanliness and tidiness and their honesty is obvious. In the Australian School when a newly enrolled child could not find his pencil, he said, “Someone has stolen my pencil”. The other children looked with amazement at him and one replied, “But no one steals in this school”. They take care not to damage books and computers. They are respectful towards the teacher. They trust the teachers more and are open in their communication, regarding the teacher as part of the family.

Similar results have also been seen in the government schools which have had EHV programmes introduced by the Sathya Sai Institutes. The Australian experience is a good example. In Australia, indigenous (Aboriginal) education has been a challenge to the government. Pouring in more and more money and creating better educational facilities did not provide a solution to the poor achievement levels, high dropout rates, and high educational failure in this community.

In one such school, a teacher noted that the attendance was poor, often only 5 or 6 children in a class of 30, and the children in the afternoon were not the same as the ones in the morning. There was hardly any discipline – the playground was a place of fights. The school had litter all over and the windows were broken. The children had poor social skills, and educationally the school was a failure.

A new principal appointed in the school invited the Australian Sathya Sai Institute to establish a partnership in EHV in this school. The teachers were enthusiastic about the Children programme and implemented it diligently. The results are nothing short of miraculous. Two years later, research by one of the teachers at the school for a thesis tracked the progress of the children and the school culture. He found that the school was a clean and tidy campus. The children were focused and interested in their studies. They had developed good social skills and were now able to resolve their own differences; schools fights were rare. To solve their differences they either negotiated with each other peacefully or took their problem to a teacher rather than resort to fights. Academic levels are now at par with other comparable schools.

Education Queensland (the Government Department of Education) has located a research unit in this school. The school principal was “The Queenslander of the Year” and the teacher who had acted as the human values education coordinator in this school, recognised for her work, was chosen as one of the seven teachers in the State to receive “Teacher of the Year” award. This school is now regarded as a model for Aboriginal education.

Another success story is the Sathya Sai U-Turn Training School in Australia. This school runs programmes for adolescents, boys and girls in grades 7, 8 and 9 who are identified as ‘at risk’ of educational failure by their own Government High School. The High School refers ‘at risk’ adolescents to the Sathya Sai U-Turn Training School. Here they are exposed to human values through a programme based on the teaching of Bhagavan through the word “WATCH”: watch your words, actions, thoughts, character and heart. The programme gives these adolescents social, emotional and moral skills, while the adolescents are engaged in blacksmithing, woodwork, leatherwork, sewing, painting and knitting. They work closely with the teachers. This builds their self- confidence and trust and they are transformed. To date almost all of the 43 ‘at risk’ adolescents who have attended the Sathya Sai U-Turn Training School in Australia have improved their educational performance. The local High School, the local Museum and the Municipal Council are now partners in this programme. Both the parents and the teachers recognise the U-Turn Training School as an institution to reclaim ‘at risk’ adolescents. Schools in Zambia, Thailand, Kenya, Nigeria, Malaysia and several Latin American countries have had similar experiences with EHV for adolescents ‘at risk’. There seems little doubt that EHV is an excellent method for reclaiming adolescents who are heading towards educational failure.

Impact on Education System
Because of the benefits both to normal and educationally challenged children, it is not surprising that EHV is being introduced or being contemplated for introduction into mainstream education in a number of countries. For example, in Kazakhstan, an Islamic country, EHV is being introduced widely into the government schools. In fact, it seems wherever there are favourable circumstances — open and receptive society, belief in God, general awareness of the need for values in education, generous donors (for Sai Schools) and good leadership in the Sai Organisation and Institutes — EHV is taking root and is being accepted by the government schools. Latin America is a good example. 40% of all Sathya Sai Schools are within Latin American countries. Eleven Sathya Sai Institutes are active in training teachers from government schools. In Chihuahua, with a population 1,25,000, EHV programme is being run in 35 schools. The Ministry of Education has set up its own Human Values Committee and is running its own courses in ethics and values. However, surveys by the local Sathya Sai Institute show that the teachers prefer the courses of the Institute as these are transformational.

In Thailand, the government regards the Sathya Sai School as a model of education for wide adoption. Following a seminar on Human Values in Education and Family in 2003 in Malaysia, almost 60 schools expressed interest in EHV programmes in their schools. In China, the government acknowledges the need for education reform to include an emphasis on values. Apparently, the widespread single child family there is producing a generation of self-centred children with poor social skills. These effects are being compounded by the rapid economic progress, which is heightening materialistic trends in that society. A Professor of Education in Guanzao is working on a phased introduction of EHV programmes into the public school system – 6 schools at a time. He has had good results and is enthusiastic about the future of EHV in China.

In Sri Lanka, the Sathya Sai Organisation and the Institute held a seminar with the educators from the local universities and officials from the Ministry of Education in 2004. The Institute regards EHV as the programme that would spearhead education reform in the country.

Impact on Parents
Parents become aware of Human Values through the newsletters and the parent link material that requests them to support their child by practising values at home. The community service that the children undertake through the school also influences the parents as also do the courses in human values for the parents that many Sathya Sai Schools run. In many Sathya Sai Schools, the children stage an annual event, a human values school play or a musical that the parents are invited to attend. In the Sathya Sai School in Australia, parents are actively involved in service to the school. Some take classes in art, yoga and music. The impact of all these activities is enormous. The parents become aware of their role in the values education of their child. Their relationships in the family improve and are spiritualised. In some cases, the children become values activists in the family, many times correcting even their parents.

Impact on the Community
Sathya Sai Schools are acting as the nuclei for creating better understanding in communities divided by ethnic, political and religious differences. In Fiji, the division between the Pacific Islanders and the Fijians of Indian descent has been deep for generations resulting in serious political turmoil including an attempted coup.

The Sathya Sai School in Fiji is located near a local village; 40% of the children at the school are of Islander descent and the rest are of Indian origin. The children learn both Hindi and Fijian and the parents from both ethnic groups have reached levels of understanding never seen before. The Prime Minister observed in the Parliament that if politicians could follow the example of the children and parents in the Sathya Sai School, then all their problems would be solved!

In the Kesaju Sathya Sai School in Kenya, the local Imams, suspicious of the “free education” objected to their children praying with children from other religions. The Imams were invited to hold prayers in the school. Now the Muslims are accepting prayers of other religions. This has been deeply unifying for the community. Similar experiences are reported from some of the Latin American countries where Catholic nuns have run EHV in Catholic Schools. They have been able to convince Mother Superior and the Bishops that they do not see conflict between Bhagavan’s and Christ’s teachings.

Sathya Sai Schools in some instances have become useful resources for the local communities. Kesaju Sathya Sai School is located in a semi-desert area with poor water supply, and in conditions of drought the community used to lose some of its cattle due to lack of water. Bhagavan gave instructions where a borehole should be dug for water. The result is abundant sweet water for the school to grow its own food, and enough to establish a farm. The school has built a trough so that the cattle can have water even in drought. Imagine the gratitude of the local community.

The African Institute in Zambia has developed a partnership with other agencies to bring water both to the school and to the local community in Ndola.

Almost all the Sathya Sal Institutes around the world are involved in training the local teachers in Human Values Education. The teachers who go through such programmes of the Institute realise that human values cannot be taught, but only demonstrated by the teachers by their own example. They have to practise the values and transform themselves, their schools and their communities.

Sathya Sai Schools and Institutes have not been long established. They are already having significant positive impact on their communities, governments and education systems. It seems highly likely that their impact will go on increasing and in another decade or so they will transform education and herald a new era in which human values will permeate all institutions and all human enterprises.

Reference: Sanathan Sarathi pgs 337-342 & 375, November 2005

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

Testy Over Standards

Testy Over Standards
Most private schools refuse to take part in provincial EQAO program
By JENNY YUEN, SUN MEDIA
Last Updated: 2nd March 2009, 4:41am

Toronto-area private schools aren’t putting stock into the standardized testing that parents can count on in the public system.

In an exclusive elementary school report card issue yesterday, the Sunday Sun reported private schools came second among GTA school boards, following the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud.

However, it’s difficult to get a full picture of how private schools rank in the evaluation by the Fraser Institute. Only seven of 250 private schools in the GTA voluntarily have their students take standardized provincial testing from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). While the testing is mandatory for public schools — it’s not in the private system.

The Fraser Institute, an independent think-tank, releases the annual report card, basing its findings on the province’s standardized EQAO tests, which are given to kids in Grades 3 and 6.

TOO MUCH COMPETITION

So why don’t private schools think EQAO is the way to go?

“We find our testing (Canadian Test Centre’s CAT-4 evaluation) tells us more about where we need to improve as teachers,” said Sybil Taylor, principal of Century Montessori Private School. “We did two years of EQAO in early 2000 and there was a feeling that there was too much competition with ranking.”

The North Toronto Christian School, a private school in the Finch-Bayview Aves. area, doesn’t perform EQAO testing because it costs $55 per pupil for private schools.

“Cost is an issue and we would generally question the value of this,” said Gordon Cooke, the school’s administrator. “We’re not convinced that EQAO is vigorous enough to test performance.”

The school, which has 600 students from JK to Grade 8, uses CAT-3 and Canadian Tests of Basic Skills as ways of evaluation. Cooke said the school also rejects EQAO because it takes up class time.

Cooke added that parents don’t need to see private school rankings on the Fraser report to know it’s a quality school.

WORD OF MOUTH

“Parents are convinced of a (private school’s) strong academic state through word of mouth and coming to the school and talking to staff,” he said.

Peter Cowley, of the Fraser Institute, said Ontario is the only province where many private schools opt out of standardized testing.

“The vast majority of private schools in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec all participate in province-wide testing, and that is because a portion of their tuition fees are covered by the provincial ministry of education,” he said.

Dr. Revathi Chennabathni, the principal at Sathya Sai School, said her private school participates in the EQAO exam because “it provides an unbiased assessment of our school for parents to decide if this is the right school for their child.”

More parents are choosing private schools because of smaller class sizes, said Agatha Stawicki, who organizes annual private school fairs for parents in Toronto and Oakville.

“More and more smaller schools are opening to fill a gap that’s for the community,” she said. “About 30% of kids that attend private schools come from families with incomes less than $50,000, which means parents are making significant sacrifices to make that choice to enrol their child in a private or independent school.”

Parent Kesh Maharaj said he sent his two kids to Sathya Sai School because it offers a human component.

“For the schools that don’t participate in the Ontario standard testing I can only hope that the kids are gaining the correct lessons from the teachers,” said Maharaj, 32, who is also co-chairman on the Sathya Sai School parent council.

“There is also a level of responsibility and ownership which parents must take in the success and proper functioning of any educational system. Personal responsibility and personal commitment to continued education at home are equally important for the successful education of our children.”

Toronto Sun Reference

Education In Human Values – A Scholarly Perspective

Education In Human Values
News Agency of Kashmir
10/28/2008 9:29:47 PM
Sadakat Malik

Shri Sathya Sai Baba has beautifully quoted:

“If human values take root in the educational system, the emerging individuals will have the following attributes: they will want peace & justice in a world that acknowledges the rule of law and in which no nation or individual need live in fear; freedom and self reliance to be available to all; the dignity & work of every person to be recognized & safeguarded; all people to be given an opportunity to achieve their best in life; and they will seek equality before the law and the equality of opportunity for all.”

Unfortunately, the scheme of strengthening education in human values (EHV) appears to have very little planned the picture seemed different in the country’s educational institutions besides launch of policies and programmes. The central legislations has failed at the very beginning. The NCERT as a central resource centre for value education resulted futile, as the agency has failed at the very essence to reach the target. Mere publications on the part of National resource centre on value education by the NCERT at the centre will not serve the purpose.

The organization of teacher training seminars at national level is not a remedy to re-exhibit the values among so called teachers and people in governance. The teachers need to be taught the basic ethics as to how to talk and act with the learning posterity. The monitoring and training resource centres at local level may prove herculean for inculcation of value among all the people. Moreover, A draft curriculum for teacher training acknowledges several problems in preparing teachers properly for the classroom and imbibe in them values.

Historically. Education about India’s common cultural heritage has been identified in para 3.4 of National Policy on Education as one of the core areas under the National System of Education. The common core will include the history of India’s freedom movement, the constitutional obligations and other content essential to nurture national identity. These elements will cut across subject areas and will be designed to promote values such as India’s common cultural heritage, egalitarianism, democracy and secularism, equality of the sexes, protection of the environment, removal of social barriers, and observance of the small family norm and inculcation of the scientific temper.

The National Policy on Education (para 8.4 and 8.5) has laid
considerable emphasis on value education by highlighting the need to make
education a forceful tool for cultivation of social and moral values.
A Central Sector- Scheme of Assistance to Agencies for Strengthening Culture/Art/ Values in Education and for Assistance to Educational Institutions implementing Innovative Programme was formulated in 1987-88. It provided for financial assistance on 100% basis to projects/proposals screened by duly constituted Grants-in-Aid Committee of the Ministry. In July 1990, a decision was taken in the Ministry to set up a working group to review the scheme to make it more purposeful. Accordingly, a working group was constituted with the officers.

Of the Ministry and experts from premier resource institutions of the country
engaged in strengthening cultural and artistic inputs in education.

The recommendations made by the working group were examined in the Ministry carefully and a decision was taken that the process of strengthening cultural and value inputs in education should be extended to the non-formal sector also. The Scheme was revised and reformulated in 1992 which is known as the Scheme of Financial Assistance for Strengthening Culture and Values in
Education
.

Nevertheless, In January 1997, the Government of India entrusted to Tata Institute of Social Science, Bombay (TISS) a project of an evaluation study of the working of the scheme. TISS submitted a report in April, 1999 which recommended for continuation of the scheme which should have essential components like involvement of community and evolving teaching strategies for a lasting impact on students. The scheme was given adequate publicity. Services of District Institute of Education and Training (DIETs), State Council of Educational Research and training, (SCERT) Panchayat etc was effectively utilized. The report was examined in the Department and it was agreed that the scheme can be continued.

The Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee in its 81st Report under Shri S. B. Chavan has also recommended that Education should highlight multifaceted development of human beings and the programme of Education in Human Values (EHV) should be built around core universal human values like Truth, Love, Peace, Righteous Conduct and Non-Violence. The focus of value education should be more at primary stage through stories/folk songs/folklores/skits/flip charts/film strips National Cadet Corps (NCC), Scouts and Guides need to be promoted. The committee stressed that the teacher who has an important role should be encouraged to initiate innovative methods of values education to students.

Interestingly, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) functioning as National Resource Centre for the programme of Education in Human Values. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and other autonomous organizations and other institutions collaborated with and assisted NCERT in development of the National Resource Centre’s In the present times of unprecedented changes dislocating traditional values and creating conflict between traditional and new values there is a universal concern in respect of erosion of values, promoting values and culture which fit in with the needs of the modern times. This concern is universal but is more acute for our country which has leads its own distinct culture, worked view and a living value tradition.

The process of developing in to a modern nation, with new social, political and economic institutions, and with emphasis on science and technology, has thrown up many new values ? Challenges in all areas of our national life. It is important that we examine these challenges and prepare our youth to face and resolve them.

In this regard, Government agreed that SCERTs will function as value Education Centre for training of in-service teachers. In those States where the work of SCERT is performed by the State Board of Education, the later will be designated as Value Education Centers for training of in-Service teachers in Value Education. Reputed NGOs, which have proven track record of working in the area of education, culture, values and transmission of culture. The assistance under this scheme was 100 per cent for all project/ programme taken up for implementation subject to a ceiling of Rs. 10.00 lakhs per annum for a project. Resource Centres and Value Education. It was decided by the government that recource Centres may be sanctioned more than Rs. 10.00 lakhs with the approval of Grant-in-aid Committee (GIAC). Resource Centres for Value Education may be given a grant upto Rs. 30.00 lakhs for augmentation of their functional resources and pedagogic infrastructure. Besides islands of initiatives by Government Of India, the Scheme for strengthening has concentrated only in few locations thereby failed to achieve the desired objective.

The researchers observed that teachers would be more effective if they balance love and care more judiciously while interacting with students. While firmness is necessary, love must play a dominant role in handling students; love and sub-values like sympathy and kindness must get precedence over maintaining silence and order in the class. In this context, there is a school that practices such an approach successfully; the SVV School at Vandalur, Chennai, run by the old students of the Sri Sathya Sai Women’s College at Anantapur. The confidence displayed by these under privileged rural children testifies to the success of their EHV programme. Department of Education, Government of India had announced that value education would be introduced in schools and colleges starting with IIT, Delhi. A lot has happened thereafter, and governments have changed; a war has been fought; and that resolve seems to have been forgotten! We are now quarrelling over quixotic issues like text errata. Inculcating human values in children is the crying need of the hour. The rest of the world is making quiet strides by following the lead shown by Indian educationists. One wonders when our government will wake up.

But you know, as in the Sathya Sai School in Thailand, many teachers come from many places. They are not devotees. But then, when they come close to the children who are full of love, they become transformed. And when children go back home, they transform the parents. So, in this way, the society is getting transformed. That’s why it is very important that we work hard to set up Sathya Sai schools as model schools in the country like ours.

The country’s educationists and policy makers should learn the lesson from Sathya Sai School system to re-imbibe human values among her children. (NAK)

Reference