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

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

Meditation Part Of Curriculum For Top Marks

Meditation Part Of Curriculum For Top Marks
By JENNY YUEN
Last Updated: 1st March 2009, 2:40am

This might be the most peaceful way to start the school day.

The 20 students in Ahalya Ganesh’s Grade 6 class are sitting around in a circle with a tealight candle placed in the centre. Their teacher presses ‘play’ on the CD and the daily ritual of 10 minutes of meditation begins.

“Focus your eyes on the light in front of you,” Ganesh, a teacher at Sathya Sai School, said soothingly to the class. “Think: May I always feel good, may I always speak the truth.”

After the music stops, the students are asked to reflect on what they were thinking of.

“I imagined what the world was like without pollution,” said Dhiviya Muthucumarasamy, 11. “I thought about what ways I could help the world. So I sent the light to everyone.”

The idea of peace is just one of the principal values at Sathya Sai School. The Scarborough private school of 160 students — from JK to Grade 6 — works on five core values of truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence, stemming from the philosophy of the school’s founder and south Indian guru, Sathya Sai Baba.

These values are embedded in regular classes, so you will find love in math and non-violence translated through science. A 40-minute “human values” class is scheduled each day where teachers and students discuss the core principles of the school. Two months are devoted to each of the five values.

Students also get 45 minutes of yoga classes in the gym each day.

This inner-peace is most likely responsible for the 100% scores on all Education Quality and Accountability Office tests in 2008 and the perfect 10 position for the second consecutive year in the Fraser Institute studies, said the school’s principal, Dr. Revathi Chennabathni.

“It’s the dedication of the students and teachers,” she said. “When we start the day with meditation, it helps them to calm down. I think the yoga and discussion in each of the classes on human values and reflection on that is adding to a better intellectual potential.”

This is the only Sathya Sai-influenced school in North America among 45 schools worldwide. It opened its doors in 2000 and has bounced from two other locations in Scarborough before landing at Ellesmere and Principal Rds.

The tuition was originally free for the first 6.5 years, but Chennabathni said it has since risen to $2,300 a year to cover renting the space. They are looking for a building of their own in the near future.

The majority of children who attend the school are of Tamil, Hindu and Sri Lankan heritage, but Chennabathni emphasizes that the school is open to all religions and all socio-economic backgrounds. They follow the Ontario curriculum with the addition of an extra holiday on Nov. 23 — the founder’s birthday. The only thing that isn’t allowed is eating meat on premises.

“The vegetarian lunch program helps them give good thoughts,” Chennabathni said.

The lessons learned in the classroom will help students translate it at home and in the community, Chennabathni said. Each month, the kids distribute sandwiches to the El Mocambo club at College St. and Spadina Ave. for the homeless.

On May 31, the pupils will go on their annual Walk for Values at Dundas Square. Instead of raising money, the goal is to pledge their commitment to one of the five values and promise to practice it for a year.

“Parents are very sure that their child would learn good values here,” Chennabathni said. “Not everyone’s a follower of our founder, but (parents send their kids here) because of the good values their child can learn and that they can build character.”

Toronto Sun Reference

Focus On Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning

Sri Sathya Sai

Sri Sathya Sai

Focus On Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning
A parable often retold by Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the story of a little boy who tore up his father’s world map into bits. While the father was furious, the boy decided to make amends and starts putting the pieces back in place to stick them up. Even as he puts in all his efforts he fails to put the world together again. Then he notices that on the reverse of the human body; a nose here, an ear there, a foot here and an eye there… and then an idea strikes him. He reverses all the torn pieces and puts the parts of the human body together so that they form the complete picture of a man. Then he turns the picture to have the whole world going into pieces; the only way to make the world united is by making each human being a wholesome person. There are no other short cuts to it.

It was precisely with this aim that Sri Sathya Sai Baba, revered as a world teacher, began his educational mission in 1969 with the establishment of a women’s college at Anantapur. Over the past three decades, the mission has grown to include a deemed university (the Sri Sathya Sai University) under which come the Anantapur campus, the Brindavan campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Arts and commerce college, Whitefield and the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) at Puttaparthi itself, besides a dozen schools and colleges elsewhere in India and abroad following the Sathya Sai system of education.

The Ministry of Education in Mauritius, has adopted the Sathya Sai system of education. Likewise educationists in Zambia, U.K., Thailand, Brazil and many other countries around the world have taken up this programme entitled “Education in Human Values” (EHV).

EHV Programme
Historically the EHV programme has its roots in the Bala Vikas programme started by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the Sixties. Women, usually housewives, were the Gurus and once a week they would interact with children sent to them by willing parents. These sessions usually included retelling stories from the puranas and bhajan singing; discussions on how to tackle anger, envy and so on; enacting plays on nature, conservation etc.

This EHV programme, with suitable modifications was made an integral part of the curriculum when the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation started educational institutions; and with the establishment of the Sri Sathya Sai University of which Baba is the Chancellor, the EHV programme has blossomed to fullness.

Two thirds of a student’s education take place outside the classroom; therefore to ensure that there is no dilution of the EHV programme, these institutions are strictly residential.

Admission to the institutions is based only on merit; and beyond the primary school stage, there is segregation of the sexes; no fee is collected; even hostel accommodation is free; the students only pay a nominal sum for food. Except during vacations when they are sent home, everyday is a working day; even festivals and holidays are converted into learning opportunities.

Academically speaking, these institutions compare with the best in the world in terms of qualified faculty and facilities; besides, classes and examinations are held very studiously. Naturally, the results are enviable and many of the alumni are scholarship students with the CSIR, Indian Institute of Science and so on.

Sports and games also get pride of place. But the main thrust of the Sathya Sai system of education is on moulding the personality of the student, for Baba says, “The end of the education is character; education is for life and not just for a living.” The watchwords in the Sathya Sai institutions are cooperation and harmony. Discipline, orderliness and patience needed for this are assiduously cultivated.

I asked an old student how this was achieved. She smiled and said; “Standing silently and waiting patiently for one’s turn—be it for a bath, breakfast, games or class and back; well, this disciplined routine itself is a great teacher!” Time management is another concept learnt by practice. There are no holidays to laze around; no whiling away over a pack of cards; no watching the idiot box; no gossiping. A key factor that ensures the success of the programme is that the teachers lead from the front.

Practical training in living together as a community is imparted by a self reliance programme. Although there are cooks, electricians, plumbers and so on at the hostels, the running of the mess, cleaning of rooms, maintenance of hygiene, electricity and water supply maintenance, keeping music equipment and sports equipment in good condition — all these activities are done by the students. A history student may thus learn how to change a fuse; a literature student may learn how to take care of overhead tanks; a physics student may learn how to cook and so on. Within one hour, five hundred students eat noiselessly in a mess and leave after all the plates and glasses are washed.

EHV is infused into the teaching of academic subjects as well. That products from trees are used in the manufacture of perfumes; this example, is converted into a fantastic EHV opportunity when the social studies teacher says:

“Look at the mango tree—you throw stones at it and yet in return it gives you delicious mangoes. And as for the sandalwood tree — it imparts fragrance even to the very axe that fells it. See their spirit of sacrifice! That is what we too should cultivate.:

The biology teacher while teaching about bacterial diseases explains how the loss of pain sensation leads to the mutilation of hands and feet in leprosy patients; as a spin off, he adds “So pain and suffering also have beneficial role on life.”

The chemistry teacher while teaching about subatomic particles says “Just as electrons exist unseen in all matter, living or nonliving, so does divinity exist unseen in all things.” Another facet of the EHV programme is the awareness module. Adolescence and youth are biologically explosive times when hormones race thorough the system and cause violent emotions and feelings. The awareness programmes help students understand themselves better. Fear, ambition, success, failure, inferiority complex, birth, marriage, death—students thrash out all these issues with teachers; often the Chancellor too participates and guides. For a practical exposition, the epics of various religions, the lives of saints and the scriptures of various faiths are also studied. In these days of communal and sectarian strife, the message clearly sent down in the Sathya Sai system is; there is only one religion—the religion of love; only one caste—the caste of humanity; and only one language. The language of heart. The students live this precept out, for the festivals of all religions are celebrated. A student of this system is equally at home singing Christmas Carols, chanting the Vedas and reciting the Suras of the Holy Koran.

An in-depth exposure to Indian culture and spirituality is another exercise that contributes to the success of the EHV programme. Be it Adi Sankara, the Sufis, Buddha, the Thirthankaras or Gandhiji, the students are exposed to everything; and to make the exercise more meaningful, the lessons are driven home through mime, theatre, plays and concerts. Fine arts are also given great importance; for it is art that uplifts and refines man. At the Puttaparthi campus, on every Tuesday, the boys have a fine arts session, aptly named “Saama,” when everything ranging form Carnatic music, Kathakali, Bachn’ Beethoven, and tribal music dance are demonstrated and discussed.

The flagship of the Sathya Sai university is the MBA course. Total quality Management and Re-engineering, the mantras of modern management schools are suitably modified here. TQM translates as “Total harmony in the quality of thought, word and deed” and RE as humility combined with co-ordination of head-heart and hand for without the former one would not accept the need for change and benchmarking; and without the latter the change would never take place. The cold, market economics usually taught at business schools acquires the warmth of compassion and human values at this institute.

Excerpted from an article by
Dr. Hemamalini Seshadri
The Hindu