Sathya Sai Schools in South Africa
Sathya Sai Schools strive to foster the development of human excellence in students by promoting integration of spiritual awareness and academic studies. By the year 2000 South Africa’s three Sathya Sai Schools were in operation in Chatsworth near Durban on the coast of the Indian Ocean, to the north in Lenasia near Johannesburg, and between the two, in Newcastle. Chatsworth serves children in Reception (Kindergarten) through grade 12, Lenasia R – 7, and Newcastle R –3. School officials of the three schools are proud to report that academic achievement meets or exceeds the level attained locally or nationally. The three schools are supported harmoniously by officials of the SSIO – South Africa, the Sathya Sai Education Trust of South Africa, and the Institute of Sathya Sai Education in South Africa. Four- year plans are in progress in the schools as they strive for greater heights of excellence in advancing the education mission of Sathya Sai Baba.
South Africa Sathya Sai School officials are happy to share anecdotes of emerging human excellence, not only in students, but also in parents and teachers. Here are inspiring glimpses of such transformation.
Sathya Sai School Chatsworth
Thirty-seven senior (grade 12) students wrote for the National Senior Certificate Matriculation (Matric) examination in 2016. All seniors in the country take the examination, and the national pass rate in 2016 was 72.5%. Chatsworth seniors exemplified models of human excellence in achieving 100% pass rate making their families, teachers, and themselves very happy.
A high school teacher shares another recent event. “A few months ago I had taken our senior boys for their first soccer match of the year, and I was immensely proud of their discipline, character and sportsmanship. When we arrived at the grounds, we were a few minutes early, and as we waited the boys huddled together and encouraged each other. After the pep talk one of the boys said, 'Let’s pray.' Standing on the ground in full view of everyone were fifteen young men, shoulder to shoulder, united in their stance, who prayed with such sincerity and earnestness. For me, that was the first prize. I have not yet met such happy runners up. Even though they were not triumphant on the score board after the match, they had won the greatest victory by personifying the teachings and values that are instilled in them at school. That is what we strive for, not just winning an event but living a life of victory.”
Sathya Sai School Newcastle
A new teacher speaks of her own transformation. “I started teaching at the Sathya Sai School Newcastle, on the 11th of January 2016. At first it felt like something was missing in my teaching life because it was so hard for me to do my lesson preparation and teach my subjects and Human Values at the same time. Our principal organised staff development meetings to show how to integrate values in teaching of all subjects and in all activities we do at school. I began to live by the values, walk and speak them by being a good example to my learners at school and at home. I also learnt that we should not teach values but we bring them out from learners. Now in all my lessons I do integration of values and the values just come out because it has become a part of me now. The school has developed me in many different ways. Now I have the skills to develop reading in my learners. Silent sitting helps me if I want to calm the learners down. My work is up-to-date because here we use our free time to prepare for the next day, to mark leaners book rather than talking and disturbing other teachers. Now I can call myself a teacher because my learner's development tells me that I am doing something in their lives.”
Sathya Sai School Lenasia
Is following one’s conscience an accepted part of student culture? This question was put to the school principal. His answers reveal the deep human values culture at the school.
“Yes, definitely! During lunch breaks many learners after an altercation approach teachers on duty and confess they had done something wrong to hurt another child. The teacher uses Sathya Sai Education in Human Values skills to help the learners understand right conduct that leads to peace and love.
“A child from grade 3 opened her lunch box and discovered that her mother had packed a lunch with meat. She was honest and upset and reported to the teacher immediately. The lunch box was put aside, and the other children offered to share their vegetarian lunches with her. Her consciousness would not allow her to do something wrong against the values of the Sai School.
“Some parents have reported to me that since their child has been attending the Sai School, the child has changed the family dynamics at home. Parents say the child has encouraged parents to pray before food time, not to use cell phones during meals, say “please” and” thank you” when communicating with each other. They indicated that their families have now become better Christians, Muslims, or Hindus than before, a tribute to the teaching of human values.
“Groups of grade 6 girls had said some mean words and were being disrespectful to the Afrikaans teacher. After the School Management Team concluded the investigation, the girls acknowledged their error and understood how hurt the teacher felt. Prompted by their own conscience, they approached me and requested to make an apology to the teacher in the full assembly. They were honest and showed sincere remorse for their actions. They even wrote a very touching poem for the teacher. All the other learners in the assembly from grade R to grade 7 were very touched by this action. There was understanding that words and actions can hurt other people, and all must be more conscious of their acts."