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

A Muslim Has His Doubts Dispelled

Sri Sathya Sai

Sri Sathya Sai


A Muslim Has His Doubts Dispelled

Prof. Abdul Razaak Banurao Korbu was a reputed teacher of Law whose desire to teach in Bhagawan’s institute as a visiting professor was fulfilled by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself by handpicking his application form from a heap of applications.

Bhagawan had not spoken to him even one word in the first year of his service at the institute. One evening during darshan, Bhagawan walked straight to him; Korbu touched His feet with tears in his eyes. Bhagawan asked him, “How are you, sir?” “I am alright, Baba! Now…” Before Korbu could complete the sentence, Bhagawan interjected, “I know, I will see you later.” On that Sunday evening, after the darshan rounds, Bhagawan walked up to Korbu in the mandir verandah and asked him, “What is your first name, sir?”

“Abdul Razaak, Swami”

“What is the meaning of Abdul?”

“It means a devotee, Baba”

“What is the meaning of Razaak?”

Korbu could only fumble. Bhagawan Himself said, “Razaak means Allah. What is the meaning of Allah?”

“God, Baba”

“That is not quite correct. Allah means “all high” or “above all”; that is also the meaning of Parameshwar – Param Ishwar. There is no difference. Allah and Parameshwar are one. He has manifested Himself as this vishwa.”

Korbu’s mind went blank with joy. Then, Bhagawan called him into the interview room. Korbu broke down when he was all alone with the Guardian for the first time. Bhagawan established complete rapport with him instantly, saying, “Sit comfortably and do not cry. Why fear when I am here! You are Abdul! – My Abdul, and I am your Razaak; you know it well.”

The very next day during a second Interview, Bhagawan said, “I know that you have faith in Me, but you do not believe in My power to create objects, Isn’t it so?”

Startled at Bhagawan’s revelation, Prof. Korbu instantly understood that this had been a question mark in his mind for almost five years.

“Forgive me, Baba. What You have said is correct” was the Professor’s reply.

“Your lack of faith in My power to materialise is genuine. I like your frankness and love you. It is good that you do not take anything for granted. Now, you can ask Me for anything and I shall give it to you here and now! Take your time, think and ask for anything you desire.”

After thinking for a while, knowing that there were very few Muslims among His devotees, he decided to ask Him, ‘Baba, please give me such an object which embodies in it the entire universe and also any symbol of my religion marked on it!’

Baba smiled sweetly and said, “Abdul, do you think you have placed an impossible request before Me?” “Look at My palm. Do you see anything there? There is nothing either in it or behind it. You can verify it for yourself.” He turned His palm upside down; the sleeve of His robe was above the elbow. Professor who dared not touch His hand; but, Bhagawan caught his palm forcefully and moved it around His palm and hand. After that, He said, “Abdul, keep on looking at the centre of My palm for some time.”

As he gaped at His palm, within a few seconds, the skin in the centre of the palm opened out and he could see a round large object coming out of it. Soon the skin became normal as before and there was a shining ring, which dropped on the floor.

It had a crescent moon and star engraved in gold. Not understanding anything, the Professor pleaded Bhagawan to explain…

Bhagawan laughed and said. “You are only born as a Muslim, but you do not know anything about Islam!” Bhagawan further explained, “I have made this gold ring in ashtakonas (octogon) embedded in navarathnas (nine precious gems); both of them represent the universe. In the middle of the Navarathnas I have put the Islamic symbol of the crescent and the star in emeralds, which are green in colour. The green stones also stand for your religion. Now, I will put this ring on the fourth finger of your left hand since your right hand finger is disfigured.”

Surprised, he looked at the disfigured fingers of his right hand. Bhagawan slipped the heavy shining ring on his finger; it was a perfect fit. Only after coming out of the mandir, the professor came to know from an American Muslim devotee, who had a look at the ring, that the word ‘Allah’ was inscribed in Arabic language, at the centre of the green emerald stone!

Unusual Ring Materialized By Sathya Sai Baba

Unusual Ring Materialized By Sathya Sai Baba


(Compiled from Sathyam Sivam Sundaram Vol. 5)

Reference