A school that promotes excellence
Dr. David Gries, professor of computer science at Cornell University, was a keynote speaker at a meeting on the relevance of Satya Sai Baba's Junior School in Toronto, held at the Bloor Street United Church on October 9th, 2004.
The 'golden thread' which binds these institutes is the belief that education is for life and not for mere living, said Gries, who teaches computer science at Satya Sai Baba's Institute of Higher Learning at Puttaparthi near Bangalore for a couple of weeks every year.
The school in Toronto and 46 other such schools worldwide "are managed by the Institute or by non-profit organisations established directly by devotees," said Gries.
In these schools, "Education in worldly subject was integrated with character-building and spiritual instruction" based on Satya Sai Baba's human values of truth, peace, right conduct, love and non-violence, he said.
He then detailed how Dr Victor Kanu and his wife Genevieve of Oxford University moved to Zambia, and started a school there in 1992. "They accepted only students who had failed in the standard classroom settings."
That school, Gries said, has "gained national attention" as for "seven years straight, 100 percent of the students passed in all examination classes, with many students achieving distinction."
Students at the Sai Baba School, Toronto
this the best example of how Sri Sathya Sai Baba's education in human
values ideas have inspired Sai devotees throughout the world to start
schools that make character building and the teaching of human value an
integral part of the curriculum."
Dr Yaseen Sankar, professor of business at Dalhousie University, who was also among the speakers, told India Abroad that the Toronto school, which take classes upto grade five, now has 140 students.
The school's mission, he said, is to promote human
excellence in students by balancing character education and academic
achievement, and its educational activities are directed towards
becoming a worthy model school for values education in Canada.
"Sai Baba's educational institutions arc models of
academic excellence," said Sankar, who is on the school's board of
"Education has two aspects: the first is related to
external and worldly education, which is nothing but acquiring bookish
knowledge." Gries said about Satya Sai Baba's approach towards education
that also guides the school named after him in Toronto.
"In the modern world, we find many well versed and
highly qualified in this aspect (of bookish knowledge). The second
aspect known as Educare is related to human values. The word Educare
mean " to bring out that which is within".
"The human values within us have to be elicited
from within. Educare means to bring out human values... To bring out
means to translate them into action."