“A life without character is as barren as a temple without a lamp, a coin that is counterfeit, a kite whose string has snapped. A teacher who instructs pupils with his eye fixed on his salary, and a pupil who learns with his eyes fixed on a job are both missing their vocation”, said Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Education is meant to mould the child into an integrated personality through sustained and consistent efforts. Maria Montessori and other educators like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich Fröbel in the past have stressed that education should be considered as the development from within. Maria Montessori said, “If any educational act is to be efficacious, it will be only that which tends to help towards the complete unfolding of the child’s individuality.”
Unless teachers transform the knowledge to wisdom and assist the students to ensure this wisdom expresses itself in character and their day-to-day behaviour, the process of education becomes worthless. Teachers have to be rightly equipped as vehicles of values for the benefit of our children and youth, but there is a serious lacuna in terms of values which are missing in teacher education. Dr S Radhakrishnan said, “What the teachers do, the students follow, so they set the example. Teachers by their conduct should be an example to the student.” This in Baba’s words is 'Achariti iti Acharyah' which means a Teacher is the one who practices.
From being a teacher who instructs the student, provokes the mind and imparts knowledge; to becoming a Guru who constructs the student, touches the soul and imparts wisdom, the education mission of Prashanthi Balamandira Trust strives to mould its teachers into Gurus who enlightens the students. To keep this focus alive all the time, the teachers of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Gurukulam Group of Institutions are led by the following major principles and guidelines, drawn as an expansion to the acronym, ‘TEACHER.’
T – Transformation – Making every effort to establish human values as the foundation of education
E – Example to Everyone – Practice speaks louder than Precept and this is laid down as the primary code of conduct for every teacher
A – Awareness of Oneness – An unbiased approach gained from the knowledge of the immanent unity in all
C – Culture of Countries – Consciously bestowing cultural values to help students lead a righteous life
H – Head, Heart and Hands – Synchronised methodology to create brilliant heads, compassionate hearts and competent hands
E – Environment – Naturalistic surroundings to stimulate originality and lead one back to one’s natural spiritual self
R – Role of Religion – Imparting the knowledge about the basic teachings of world religions to inspire harmony, broad-mindedness and religious tolerance
If education is meant for social change, then reorientation of our teacher education is paramount. Apart from the requisite skill development and enhancement of teaching competencies, teacher training or teacher education programmes should provide a platform for the teacher to develop his/ her personality and imbibe ‘values’ in thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The objective should be to educate teachers so that their human excellence blossoms forth and they imbibe the right attitudes and values.
The Prashanthi Balamandira Trust along with the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence has embarked on a noble project called, ‘Value Educating India’, which will be conducted in phases over the next 10 years. The first phase of training will be spread out throughout one whole year, consisting of the best and the most inspired teachers, representing every district of the country, who would be trained in the customised curriculum of universal human values. The subsequent phases will involve teachers from taluk and then from village panchayat level schools, who would be further trained in this methodology of teaching values at schools.