Prolegomena of the Sri Sathya Sai Education
The Sri Sathya Sai philosophy of Education can be elucidated within the paradigm of the concept EDUCARE, which in short is aptly summed up as Schooling for Excellence. The quest for Excellence is innate in every human individual, which finds expression in myriad different forms. This is because each individual is on embodiment of perfection, which lies embedded beneath four other sheaths consisting of the gross physical form, vital air which sustains life, the mind complex and the intellect. Together with the innermost kernel, which is Bliss Divine these five sheaths form the personality of the individual. Swami Vivekananda has aptly proclaimed-“Education is the manifestation of perfection already latent invent.” By constantly striving for excellence, man can attain the state of perfection and beatitude. A succinct definition of excellence has been explained by a seer thus – “excellence means doing the little things well, doing a thousand things one percent better than doing one thing a thousand percent better.” It denotes all our attempts to experience sustained improvement in all our endeavours. To quote the late Dr. Madhuri shah, erstwhile Chairperson of the University Grants Commission of India, and the Sri Sathya Sai National Board of Education – “Life without this spark of excellence is a burden and perhaps not worth its effort. In order to insure that man leads his life with this motivation it is necessary that he imbibes that spirit as an integral part of his personality. This can be achieved at any and every stage of life and has to emerge as the key element of education that should revolve around this focal point of excellence.”
In conclusion, the following five points will summarize the aforementioned postulates:
- In life, man seeks to accomplish excellence and thus satisfy the prime human aspirations.
- Excellence is not competition with others but with ones own self.
- Excellence is an attitude to life and can be imbibed.
- The onus of inculcating and developing this attitude is on education.
- Schooling for Excellence is an educational plan designed to achieve this purpose.
¨ Ramifications of Excellence
Integral excellence has three ramifications:
- Academic Excellence
- Environmental Excellence
- Human Excellence
1. Academic Excellence
- To improve the academic content of teaching and learning.
- To cultivate and encourage the habit of competing with their own performance.
- To raise the average performance of the class.
- To enlarge the spectrum of awareness.
- To bring out the practical utility of each subject that is taught.
- To strengthen the language and comprehension base.
The teacher, the student and the process form the triad of education. Bhagawan defines a Guru as one who possesses Guri, the kernel of knowledge and wisdom. In the days of yore, savants graduating out of the Gurukulas aspired for deserving pupils not to display their scholastic prowess and erudition or earn their living by teaching, but for the more sublime propose of disseminating knowledge and sustaining the Guru-Sishya Parampara (Teacher–Taught Tradition) through a learning–oriented process. The Teacher is the source and inspiration of academic excellence. It is imperative on the part of every teacher to remember the maxim – “I hear and forget, I see and remember, I do and understand” and thus make every class a participatory venture.
A good student should be taught to inculcate the traditional values of shama, dama, upariti and titiksha – Self control, Discipline, Keen Perseverance and fortitude. Our students should learn to pray not only for themselves, but also for their parents and teachers as contained in the Vedic traditions such as sahanau yashaha sahanau Brahmavarchasam. Such is the eternal heritage of the sacred Vedas – our priceless inheritance. Students who learn these mantras and imbibe their meaning will eventually learn to cultivate an inner bond of universal fraternity and the spirit of altruism. During the initial stages, students tend to cherish likes and dislikes with respect to subjects of study mainly due to the style and method in which the subjects are taught. By carefully observing each student and preparing copious lesson-plans, the practical application and utility of each subject can be highlighted and thereby harness the interest of the student in the subject concerned.
A Teacher never teaches History, Physics or Economics. What is taught is the child. The process of Education is thus learning-oriented and not teaching or examination oriented. Even the evaluation of the child’s progress is done through either components of assessment, which are more effective tools than the conventional examinations.
- Expunge the word “Routine”
- Popularise the maxim ‘I’ to WE
- Teaching and Learning Aids
- Encourage Questioning and enquiry
- Self Assessment on topics such as “Me Today and Me Yesterday”
- Quiz Exercises
- Use of library
- Practice of writing
- emoving the examination phobia
- Lesson planning
For proper value-orientation while planning the contents of the lesson, three components must be considered as the cardinal values: Truth, Goodness and Beauty – Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram as illustrated below:
Illustrative Lesson Plan to Teach About Trees
What is nature? What is a tree? Where is it found? What is it made of? Various species and types of tree – stages of growth of a tree-What is a forest?
Uses of wood such as shade, shelter, rain, prevention of deserts, balance of nature, provides oxygen during day, sources of medicine
Object of admiration, home for birds, reminder of seasons, lesson of growth either straight or crooked, beauty of colours, helps at every stage even when cut.
Aims and Objectives of Lesson Planning
- To develop ‘pride in work’, which will lead to excellence
- To create career interest and to inculcate work ethics and human values
- To improve Quality of Work Life (QWL)
- To insist on right methods, procedures and practices, and development of skills and attitudes through graded work exercises.
- To explain implications if not done to specifications or if not rightly done, through case and effect relationship
- To give tasks having purpose, relevance and utility.
- To define content, behavioural aspects and achievements.
The plan to vocationalilse the method of learning, which is executed through what is known as SUPW (Socially Useful and Productive Work) is realised by using models, charts, audio-visuals, field visits and programmed instructions. At different stages of their academic life, students learn various practical disciplines in the following order:
Primary Stage (I to IV standards)
World of Work
Lower Secondary Stage (V to VIII standards)
Secondary Stage (IX to XII standards)
2. Environmental Excellence
- Inculcating the conviction that Cleanliness is Godliness.
- To provide a clean, pure and healthy environment in the school.
- To make students conscious of their contribution in environmental purification and conservation.
- To guide the students with lofty ideals such as Bend the Body, Mend the senses and End the mind.
- Environment is the sum total of the propensities and actions of all individuals.
- Developing a specific environment calls for eco-centric positive contribution from all quarters.
- Participation of students and teachers alike is the pre-requisite for Environmental Excellence.
- Man and his environment both condition each other. Man is blessed with the faculty of discrimination and therefore enjoys a more dominant place.
- Physical amenities like whiteboard, chalkboard, audio-visual equipment, library, indoor and outdoor games, music and ECA room, Educative Recreation, Awareness Programs, Integrated Health Plan, Vocational Training and Assistance.
- Project – We Love Our School.
- Project – We see 3 Cs – Classroom, Compound and Corridor.
- Project – I Love My Uniform.
- Periodical Medical Checkups.
- Annual Sports Meet.
- Extension and Service Activities (CDP – Community Development Program).
- Self Reliance Program (SRP).
- Special lecture and demonstration sessions on subjects like:
- Body is the Temple of God.
- Sound mind in a Sound Body.
- Maintaining the Body Machine.
- Care of Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat.
- Importance of Cleanliness.
- What to Eat and How to Eat.
- Prevention is Better Than Cure.
- Yogasanas and Yoga Kriyas.
- Importance of Exercise, Rest and Sleep.
10. Displaying value-oriented tenets around the campus such as :
- Far more important than the marks are the remarks that the students earn.
- If it is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, it is not possible to discover it elsewhere.
- Education is like a Bank on which the nation draws a cheque whenever it needs strong and reliable workers.
- Love as Thought is Truth, Love as Action is Right Conduct, Love as Feeling is Peace, and Love as Understanding is Non-Violence.
- I have no Yesterdays …Time took them away, Tomorrow may not be, But I have Today.
- To Talk with God, no breath is lost – Talk On! To Walk with God, no Strength is lost – Walk on! To Wait on God, no Time is lost – Wait on!
- Our Plans of Life are not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves.
All these integral items are taught and demonstrated by experts from the ranks of the Seva Dal and Women’s Wing volunteers of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization as well as other adepts and resource persons.
3. Human Excellence
- To enable integrated development of the student’s personality.
- TO inculcate a commitment for basic human values.
- To promote cultivation of the sound habits and attitudes.
- To make the best of the formative years of a child’s personality.
- To develop inner strength required for facing challenges of later life.
- Human Excellence is a natural outcome of inculcation of basic human values.
- Every child has the potential of blossoming human Excellence.
- Man is remembered not for his pelf and position but for leading a life saturated with human values.
- The authority and authenticity of communicating Education in Human Values (EHV) stems from the practice of values in one’s personal life.
- EHV is not another text book syllabus or a subject of pedantic value, but the very purpose of life.
- Integration of the EHV Program with the Curricular and co-curricular plan of the school, which caters to the five domains of the human personality thus:
¨ The Technique
- Training and Orientation of teachers.
- Use of Integrated Approach while imparting knowledge about any subject.
- Introduction of Profile Card.
- Parents’ Contact Program (PCP).
- Parent-teacher Association Meetings (PTA).
- Community singing.
- Celebration of cultural and religious festivals
- Observance of National events.
- Conduct of Morning Assembly by the students.