Sai Education and Institutes of Sathya Sai Education - an Overview
The Institute of Sathya Sai Education Australia is a part of a world wide network of Institutes which provide training in Human Values Education. This training is purposed to provide competent teachers and educators in Human Values Education for the Sathya Sai Organsation, and for the community at large. The Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Australia, was set up in 1996, in Canberra.
Spiritual education for children in India) was started in 1969. The impacts of the program on the children and on the adults involved were spectacular. As a result the professional educators became involved in developing the program further and the Sathya Sai Organisation in India did the basic work of scoping and sequencing the program. Some of the overseas devotees took the program in to overseas Sai Centres and from there, individuals took the program into Community as well as some schools.
Positive experiences from these were shared at international meetings in various countries and also in Prashanti Nilayam. Several international planning courses were conducted in India and overseas countries. The program was modified for overseas countries and Bal Vikas come to be called Sai Spiritual Education. Education in Human Values (EHV) was a programme that evolved for children of non-devotees.
After the programs were refined, Sai Schools were planned based on EHV. The basis of these schools was a philosophy of education quite different to that of public schools (based on equity, justice, democracy, common culture, citizenship, etc.) and private schools (based on privilege, religious values, achievement and education as a commodity). The basis of Sai education was to create competency in all the five domains of personality; education as cultivating excellence, both in the task and technical areas as well as spirituality. The central aspect of Sai education is the relationship of love and respect between the child and the teacher. Sai Schools are models not just of education and pedagogy but also models of the community involvement in education; of relationship between parents and the teachers; between the teachers, between the principal and teachers and model how money should used in education.
The first Sai School was established in Zambia, followed by Thailand, then Australia. Now there are dozens and dozens of Sai Schools around the globe.
Sathya Sai Institutes were established. They were created to professionalise Sai education and were charged with the specific task of taking Sai education into the community. They were also charged with the task of taking EHV into public schools, universities and into other institutions. Such EHV programs have been developed for the professional teachers, the medical profession, accountants, police, prison officers, administrators and businesses.
These programs were formalised and many institutes developed Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses. Further development has been taken up when the Australian Institute has established partnerships with universities, and in one university, a Masters level program was established. The Sathya Sai Institute in Australia has focussed on research and developed programs for adolescents at risk, (U-turn Training School), autism and youth issues and water education. It is also focussing on programs of the Sai Centres, e.g., Study Circles and other spiritual programs.
Similar experiences of the success of EHV are reported in Thailand, Philippines, African countries, the UK and Latin American countries. Many Institutes are focussing on training of teachers and have created programs for Government School Teachers.
Real education is education in which both the spiritual and the secular education are delivered to serve the new generations. The mainstream educational model, originally developed 200 years ago, was an industrial model that does not serve our children's needs for the 21st Century. For this we need to go beyond the industrial model. We need to evolve the very best model that we can. EHV is indeed the best model - it has a philosophy, a pedagogy, a training program for the teachers and well developed material for the children. As in all education EHV is steadily evolving. An education that does not evolve and does not meet with the needs of the new generation does not serve that generation as it should. All countries are recognising the need for curricular reform and the best reform they can make is to take up Education in Human Values.
Institutes for Sathya Sai Education now form a global network with a common goal of whole countries being introduced to EHV training programs for educators, and specific programs such as values based water, sanitation and hygeine education. In Africa the program was initiated in six countries a couple of years ago, and now 14 countries are participating.
Further information about the activities and history of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Australia is available for your reading on this page.