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

Finance St Wizards Stress Ethics At Sathya Sai’s Feet

Finance St Wizards Stress Ethics At Sathya Sai’s Feet
K V Ramana / DNA
Tuesday, September 1, 2009 3:58 IST

Hyderabad: What were Reserve Bank governor Duvvuri Subba Rao, his predecessor Y V Reddy, finance wizards Uday Kotak, K V Kamath, Kalpana Morparia, Aditya Puri, Gunit Chadha, Ajay Srinivasan, Meera Sanyal and a clutch of other Finance St honchos doing last weekend?

They were camping in Puttaparthi to take a lesson or two — apart from blessings — from godman Sathya Sai Baba during a conclave of the Sri Sathya Sai University on ethics in the world of finance.

The list of people, apart from the above, is literally a who’s who of the finance world: Sreeram Iyer, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Mani Subramanian, CEO, Barclays Bank, Jagdish Capoor, chairman, HDFC Bank, K R Ramamurthy, chairman, ING Vysya Bank, A V Balasubramanian, CEO, Birla SunLife, Amitabh Chaturvedi, MD, Dhanlakshmi Bank, and Usha Narayanan, executive director, Sebi, V Vaidyan athan, CEO, ICICI Prudential and R Sridharan, MD, State Bank of India, apart from a host of public sector and central bankers.

It’s not known if all of them are Sai devotees. In an hour-long discourse to the bankers, Sathya Sai Baba used stories from the Mahabharata to drive home the ethics imperative,alluding to how Yudhishtira lost his kingdom by gambling, and the magnanimity of Draupadi’s move to save Ashwathama’s life despite him killing the sons of Pandavas, etc.

In all, two dozen honchos from the financial and regulatory world, apart from academicians and economists attended the two-day event. Sathya Sai Baba also materialised a gold chain and gave it to ICICI Bank chairman Kamath, asking him to give it to his wife, who is said to be a devotee.

In his speech, Kamath attributed India’s rich spiritual and religious base, resting on the two pillars, truth and dharma as the reasons why it avoided the global financial crisis.

“My belief is that the core we have in terms of the teachings we have imbibed for ages that are continued to be taught to us by Bhagawan are the reasons why we have been able to withstand the challenges swept the whole world.” Kamath said.

Gunit Chaddha, CEO India of Deutsche Bank, in his speech said it is “truly an honour and privilege to submit myself before the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba”.

“I have visited Prasanthi Nilayam (abode of Baba) and Sai University many times over the last decade, and each time I have returned with even greater passion. But, today, standing here and having an opportunity to speak with the permission of Bhagawan is truly the most humbling experience of my life for the last forty eight years,” Chaddha said.

Those close to the affairs at Prasanthi Nilayam said there has been growing concern over the quality of affairs in the world of finance and Sathya Sai Baba has been stressing the
need for integrity in the world of business.

RBI governor Subba Rao said while there is an issue with ethical values in the financial world, it is a reflection of the society at large. “There is a need for a value system in the society at large,” he said.

Subba Rao said only people with an evil-minded can cause a financial scandal. “This is the time for all of us to make the rules of the game more stringent and practical,” he said.

His predecessor, Yaga Venugopal Reddy was keen to draw a line between greed and need, saying trust is the most crucial component of the sector. “There is enough in this world to meet the needs of everyone, but not enough to meet the greed of even one person,” he said, quoting Mahatma Gandhi.

DNA India Reference

Ethics and The World of Finance – Report on the Inaugural Function 2009

Ethics and The World of Finance – Report on the Inaugural Function 2009

Ethics and world of finance are two subjects that stand poles apart considering the erosion in business ethics in the corporate world of finance. Sri Sathya Sai University, in its relentless pursuit to bring quality in the world of business management, sends out hundreds of qualified graduates through its value based management programme, every academic year.

In an attempt to match the two ever repelling poles, ethics and finance, a high-profile two-day national conference on the theme “Ethics and the World of Finance” was organized by Sri Sathya Sai University in the University Auditorium on the 28th and 29th of August attended by captains from the world of finance and banking.

The conference got underway on the 28th August morning in the august presence of the Chancellor of the University, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, amidst the presence of scores of high-profile dignitaries from the world of finance and banking, including the Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Dr. Duvvuni Subba Rao and the former Governor, Mr. Y.Venugopal Reddy.

In the morning the University campus, the venue for the conference, was abuzz with final touches of preparations. The entire campus was decked up with flowers and festoons pumping in freshness and beauty, welcoming the Host, the Divine Chancellor and His Eminent Guests of Honour.

And amid expectations and prayers Sathya Sai Baba arrived at the venue just after 10:00 a.m. to a traditional Poornakumbha Swagatam. Bhagawan was received by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Vishwanath Pandit and Prof. U.S.Rao, Principal, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus. Coming onstage Bhagawan was given a standing ovation by the capacity audience filled in the University Auditorium. Thereupon, the Conference got underway with the Divine Chancellor lighting the lamp marking the official inauguration. Chairpersons for the inaugural function, Dr. Duvvuni Subba Rao and the former Governor, Mr. Y.Venugopal Reddy were garlanded by Dr. Narain Ramji, and Mr. Srirangarajan, Registrar and Controller of Examinations of the University respectively, before the commencement of the day’s further proceedings.

Delivering the welcome address, Prof. Vishwanath Pandit, expressed his deepest sense of gratitude to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, but for whose Divine Will such an event would not have been possible. Calling the event a unique occasion, the Vice Chancellor made a mention of the participation of the top echelons from the banking and financial sector along with academicians of repute.

Highlighting the direct relevance the conference has with the current world affairs, Prof. Pandit was categorical in emphasizing that value based education has to be practised in life, rather than confining the same to bookish knowledge. Calling the Sri Sathya Sai University a unique institution par excellence, Prof. Pandit made a mention about the University’s contribution to the society by sending out students with ethical values and academic perfection. Interestingly, he mentioned about the remark of the high-power parliamentary delegation visited the University in the year 1997; the delegation had suggested that the same system of education should be replicated. The UGC delegation visited the University in September 2008 made a similar remark, unofficial though. The delegations remark was that “what we see here is exceptional and must be replicated. This place does not need our support; we need the support of the University”.

Divulging the conference schedule that was divided into four parts, the Vice Chancellor said, the conference would deal with panel discussions on (1) quintessence of ethics, (2) Behaviour and Structure of Financial Institution, (3) Role of the Government and Regulatory Authorities and (4) Role of Education.

Thanking Bhagawan and Prof. Pandit profusely for the wonderful opportunity given, the RBI Governor, Dr. Duvvuri Subba Rao, in his key-note address confessed that he had not dwelled upon the subject of reference much in detail before. Calling the subject of reference as relevant in the present time in the face of economic crisis, he said all of us face ethical struggle in our daily lives. Conceding to the point that financial sector scores less ethical values, Mr. Rao opined that the sector was a reflection of society and ethics could be brought fostering a value system in society at large.

Referring to the global financial crisis he said, the crisis brought a massive breakdown of trust in the entire institution. Banking sector is in the hands of government and government cannot afford to fail the institution. If the bank is a success share holders and management will be benefited and when the bank loses the public are the worst sufferers, be it banking or any other financial institution. Banking and Financial sector share the conscience of obligation that they have in the larger interest of the society, said Dr. Rao.

Concluding his speech the Governor listed out the ethical dimensions of Reserve Bank of India, listing the bank’s roles and responsibilities being the guardians of nation’s financial security.

The high-profile guest of honour’s subject oriented lecture spreading across the essentials of financial fabric, intertwined with illustrations and examples was a treatise of relishing treat for the audience especially for the students from the University.

The next speaker, the Ex-Governor of RBI, Mr. Y. Venugopal Reddy, delivering the “invited lecture” sent out a barrage of questions with reference to the recent global financial crisis. Referring to some of the “Questionable Practices” that could have caused to spur the crisis Mr. Reddy drew the audiences’ attention unto the previous crisis in the early nineties. Listing out the consequences thereon, Mr. Reddy sounded interrogative as to whether the present crisis would bring similar consequences. Speaking about values, morals and ethics versus market and government, he said the world of finance is a different ball game and is entirely based on Trust. He ended his speech quoting Mahatma Gandhi, there is enough in this world to meet the needs of everybody but there is not enough to meet the greed of even a single person.

The last speaker for the session was Mr. S.V.Giri, formerly Vigilance Commissioner of India and the 6th Vice Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai University. Hi speech was mainly on the topic as to how the foundations of character building were laid through activities like Grama Seva and the like. Summing up the morning session he highlighted the five cardinal human values descibing them as pillars of Sanathana Dharma.

The participants for the Conference are:

  • Dr. Duvvuri Subba Rao, Governor, RBI
  • Dr. Y.Venugopal Reddy, Ex-Governor, RBI
  • V.S.Das, Executive Director, RBI
  • A.Giridhar, Executive Director, IRDA
  • R. Sridharan, MD, SBI
  • Jagdish Capoor, Chairman, HDFC Bank Ltd.
  • K.V.Kamath, Former Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd.
  • R.S.Reddy, Chairman cum Managing Director, Andhra Bank
  • Gunit Chaddha, CEO-India, Deutsche Bank
  • Uday Kotak, Executive Vice President and CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank
  • Meera Sanyal, CEO, RBS/ABN Amro Bank
  • Ravi Duvvuru, Group Head, Compliance, Kotak Mahindra Bank
  • K.R.Ramamoorthy, Chairman and MD, ING Vysya Bank
  • Kalpana Morparia, CEO, JP Morgan-India
  • Amitabh Chaturvedi, MD, Dhanalakshmi Bank
  • K.R.Kamath, CMD, Allahabad Bank
  • V.Vaidyanathan, MD and CEO, ICICI Prudential
  • Aditya Puri, MD, HDFC Bank Ltd.
  • Sreeram Iyer, CEO, Stanchart Bank
  • Usha Narayanan, Executive Director, SEBI
  • Ajay Srinivasan, Chief Executive, AV Birla Finance Services
  • S.Narayanan, MD and CEO, IFFCO Tokyo Gen Insurance
  • A. Balasubramanian, CEO, Birla Sun Life AMC

The inaugural session was attended by the students and staff of Sri Sathya Sai University, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus along with scores of other dignitaries.

Back in the mandir, Bhajan was on and it was noon arathi at 12:20 pm. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, upon retiring to Yajur Mandiram, came to the mandir at 12:10 pm to grand a special audience to Dr. Duvvuri Subba Rao, Governor, RBI. Arathi was offered at 12:20 pm upon which Bhagawan retired to Yajur Mandiram.

Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Reference (With Pictures)

World Economy Crisis – Ethics and the World Of Finance

World Economy Crisis – Ethics and the World Of Finance

‘Bankers more accountable to society’
Express News Service
First Published : 29 Aug 2009 09:56:53 AM IST
Last Updated : 29 Aug 2009 12:46:27 PM IST

ANANTAPUR: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Duvvuri Subba Rao today said there was no evidence to show that people in the financial sector were inherently less ethical than people in other professions. However, given the larger temptation and more opportunities, the power of context to be short, there could be greater incidence of unethical behaviour in the financial sector, he remarked.

Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural function of a two-day conference on ‘Ethics and World of Finance’ at Sri Sathya Sai University in Puttaparthi, Subba Rao said: “Because of the very nature of the financial sector, leaders and the top management in the sector have an extra obligation to be sensitive to larger societal obligations. Economics, as an academic discipline, is losing its value base, and conjectured, if that could be at the root of the malaise in the financial sector.”

In his indepth analysis of the present economic recession and the role of ethics, the RBI Governor outlined how a sense of responsibility to larger societal good underpins on the mandate of the RBI. “All of us as individuals, families, social communities and faith communities confront ethical dilemmas everyday, and we resolve them in our own ways. We take the value of ethical behaviour to be axiomatic,” he observed.

Subba Rao referred to financial scams that shocked the world and led to the collapse of markets, from Nick Leeson, Bernie Madoff, Dennis Levine to our own Satyam Ramalinga Raju.

On the RBI role, Subba Rao said the bank had a broad mandate. “We are the monetary authority, issue currency, regulate banks and non-bank finance companies and the financial markets. We regulate the payment and settlement system. We are the debt manager for the Central and State governments and the gatekeeper for the external sector. What guides us in fulfilling this broad mandate was a sense of institutional values and professional integrity. One of the core aims of monetary policy was to maintain price stability. By maintaining price stability, we are safeguarding the well- being of the poor in society,” he said.

In recent years, the RBI was concentrating on financial inclusion and financial literacy. The financial inclusion campaign was to provide access to financial services to people in remote and rural areas and poorer segments of society. The financial literacy programme was to educate people on the type of services that they could get from the financial sector, on the rights that they have and on the grievance redressal mechanism, the RBI Governor explained.

Earlier, Sri Sathya Sai Baba formally inaugurated the two-day conference. Former RBI governor YV Reddy, University Vice- Chancellor Viswanath Pandit and 24 chairmen and chief executives of commercial banks, insurance companies, regulatory authorities and a host of academicians and economists attended the conference.

Express Buzz Reference

RBI chief seeks more ethics from top brass
Mail Today
Mumbai, August 29, 2009

Drawing on the inherent difference between the financial sector, where trust is of utmost importance, and other businesses, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Duvvuri Subbarao said those running banks and financial institutions have a greater responsibility of being more ethical than those leading other businesses.

Speaking on ‘Ethics and the World of Finance’ at Sri Satya Sai University at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh, Subbarao said, “The (sub-prime) crisis has exposed an issue of moral hazard in the banking system – something that has come to be called privatisation of profit and socialisation of costs.” He was referring to the bailout of failed banks with the help of public funds.

Subbarao said that if, say, a soap manufacturing company became an astounding success, the company’s shareholders and management would benefit. However, if it failed, the same people would lose.

“If banks make huge profits, they can reward themselves with generous pay packets and bonuses. And if loans sour and balance sheets crash, no worry, since the bank will be bailed out at the tax payers’ expense,” the governor added.

This is true regardless of whether a large segment of the banking sector is owned by the government as in India, or whether the banks are privately owned as in most other countries, Subbarao pointed out. Governments, regardless of their political affiliations, can hardly afford large institutions to fail. This ‘too big to fail’ syndrome enables financial institutions to take risks that, say a soap manufacturer, cannot take, the governor said.

India Today Reference

Economic Crisis – Ethics and the World Of Finance

Economic Crisis – Ethics and the World Of Finance

Meet on ethics and finance from today
Express News Service
First Published : 28 Aug 2009 03:39:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 28 Aug 2009 02:38:05 PM IST

ANANTAPUR: A two-day high profile conference on Ethics and the World of Finance will be held at Sri Sathya Sai University in Puttaparthi on August 28 and 29. For the conference, the university has brought together the top echelons of the world of finance and a number of reputed economists.

The conference will be inaugurated by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Friday morning at the university auditorium.

RBI Governor Duvvuri Subba Rao will deliver the keynote address.

Former RBI governor YV Reddy has also been invited to deliver a lecture.

Chairmen and chief executives of nearly 25 commercial banks, insurance companies and several regulatory bodies will participate in the conference.

The deliberations will be interactive as panel discussions. The plenary session at the end of the conference will outline a roadmap for financial institutions, regulatory authorities and other investment institutions to follow so as to ensure sustainable and stable economic growth of the country.

Four themes which are on the agenda include, the quintessence of the human values relevant to the world of finance, functioning of the financial institutions and the new complexities which have arisen in the present world of globalisation, role of the government and regulatory agencies and the need for a value oriented educational process, which produces business leaders with appropriate value orientation for tomorrow’s world.

The organisers of the conference believe that a good part of the problem is due to declining moral standards in all spheres of economic and social life.

The most appropriate place for holding such a conference is indeed Sri Sathya Sai University, which lays primary emphasis on inculcation of human values without compromising on excellence in academic pursuit. The university has, over a short period of its existence, become a role model for other varsities by effectively integrating the two objectives of education, inculcation of values and enhancement of capabilities.

The unique educational experiment started by Sri Sathya Sai Baba as part of His Divine Mission has indeed proved to be a great success, according to Viswanath Pandit, Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University.

Express Buzz Reference

Global crisis led to breakdown of trust in fin system: RBI
Press Trust of India / Puttaparthi /ap August 28, 2009, 17:39 IST

Reserve Bank Governor D Subbarao today said the ongoing global crisis has resulted in a massive breakdown of trust in the financial system and that the study of economics could lose its value base.

“What the crisis has done is to cause a massive breakdown of trust: trust in the financial system, in bankers, in business, business leaders, investment advisers, credit rating agencies, politicians, media and in globalisation,” he said at a conference on ‘Ethics and the World of Finance’ here.

Saying that current financial crisis has called into question the ethical foundation of the financial world, the Governor at Sri Sathya Sai University said the crisis has exposed an issue of moral hazard in the banking system.

“…Something that has come to be called privatisation of profit and socialisation of costs,” he said.

The governments can hardly afford to have large institutions fail as they would be bailed out at tax payers expense, he added.

The ‘too big to fail’ syndrome enables financial institutions to take risks a soap maker cannot take, he said.

The crisis, he said, has triggered a soul searching debate on whether the malaise in the financial sector could be a result of the flaws in the direction that economics, as an academic discipline, has taken over the years.

“I have raised the issue of economics, as an academic discipline, losing its value base, and conjectured if that could be at the root of the malaise in the financial sector,” he said. Subbarao said the ethical content of economics got eroded over the centuries as economics tried to move from being a value based social science to a value free exact science.

“The mathematical abstractions got carried too far and in the process economics lost its link with real life situations that it was expected to study and analyse,” he said.

Though there is no evidence to show that people in the financial sector are inherently less ethical, given the larger temptation and more opportunities there could be greater incidence of unethical behaviour in the sector, he said.

“Banks and financial institutions have a greater responsibility of being conscious of the obligation they have of not jeopardizing the larger public interest,” he said.

Further, quoting economist John Stuart Mill, he said that “if we make men honest, good and decent, then they will make themselves honest, good and decent engineers, doctors and teachers, and may I add, financial sector professionals.”

Business Standard Reference