“Bal Vikas (Sai Spiritual Education) is the primary basis of the great movement to restore righteousness (dharma) in the world… The ideal of the program is to raise a generation of boys and girls who have a clean and a clear conscience.”
SSS v14:3, June 6, 1978
As SSE educators, National and Regional coordinators, senior teachers, trainers and Sathya Sai Youth involved in the SSE programs, you are cordially invited to a Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) Conference of the SSIO. This conference has been organised to deliberate on the present state of the SSE program, learn about the desired state, and develop the future framework for SSE, including the program structure, syllabus, training of SSE teachers, SSE trainers training, and supporting resources for the various SSE groups. We pray for Bhagawan’s guidance that this conference will help us to improve the overall quality, structure, and future direction of the SSE program. This conference is an excellent opportunity to share your experience and to contribute to develop the SSE program to the highest expectations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The conference will be held immediately following Guru Poornima on 1-3 August 2015 in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Our goals for this SSE conference are:
- Join together and offer our prayers to Swami for His divine guidance.
- Work together to identify our strengths and weaknesses in strengthening the framework for SSE programs globally.
- Share and learn from the best practices being employed by SSE National Coordinators.
- Analyse SSEHV teaching/training and deliberate on how globally the SSE programs may be improved by incorporating aspects of SSEHV.
- Develop an overall coordination framework for the SSE program.
- Work towards identifying and resolving challenges faced by the SSE programs in various countries and zones of the SSIO.
We will aim for the following outcomes from the conference:
- Create an accurate baseline showing the present state of the SSE program.
- Establish a working group to compile a database of talents and resources available worldwide for the various components of the SSE programs
- Agree on a framework for the SSE Program and outline the follow-up work required.
- Identify challenges faced by the various zones, establish a working group to complete the follow-up, and resolve these issues prior to SSE school year 2016 – 2017.
- Establish a pilot initiative for the next SSE school year 2015 – 2016. Details of the proposed pilot initiative will be provided prior to the conference.
SSE Programs Worldwide
At present the SSE classes are organized into the following five groups including the Pre-Group I (aka Sai Nursery):
- Pre-Group I (Sai Nursery) – Ages 4, 5
- Group I – Ages 6, 7, 8
- Group II – Ages 9, 10, 11
- Group III – Ages 12, 13, 14
- Group IV – Ages 15, 16, 17
SSE Teachers are usually members of a Sathya Sai center (parents, adults, or Sathya Sai youth) and may not be formally trained in secular or spiritual education. The conference will deliberate on the optimal training required for each of these groups. We invite active participation from experienced SSE teachers in each of these groups.
At present, the SSE program does not follow a uniform international standard. It varies by country/region and the availability of good teachers within the country/region. In each country, the national SSE coordinator organizes the program within the various centres with the assistance of regional SSE coordinators within the country. Some countries adopt a common syllabus and others do not. Some programs are derived from the Bal Vikas program in India and others are more oriented towards Education in Human Values (EHV). We will have the opportunity to share best practices and understand how to create the best standardized program for SSE.
Sathya Sai youth are an integral part of the SSIO and serve as inspirational teachers in the SSE program. Their active involvement often goes beyond teaching a class to conducting activities, plays, cultural programs, and offering mentorship to the students. The students, especially those in Groups III and IV, often relate better to the Sathya Sai youth. We particularly welcome Sathya Sai Youth, especially those focused on working with the older SSE groups, to participate in this conference.
It is our goal that the Conference will enable the following:
- Build a central repository of resources that can be used by SSE educators, coordinators, students, and parents worldwide.
- Develop introductory, intermediate, and advanced training for educators.
- Develop approaches for a more coordinated involvement of parents.
- Offer intermediate and advanced certificate programs for SSE students.
SSE Repository of Resources
The SSE program of the SSIO would be well served by a central repository of SSE resources from around the world. This will enable easy access to teaching and training material. At present, most countries have one or more websites related to SSE and the SSIO also maintains some information. Building a growing online repository will serve SSE educators worldwide.
SSE Educator Training
Availability of good quality trainers is important to the success of the SSE program. We will provide opportunities to share ideas about creating and offering multiple levels of training in cooperation with present SSE trainers and the ISSEs. This will allow the national and local SSE leadership to select what is appropriate for their needs.
The training of trainers will be an important aspect of this conference. We invite your views on how the Education Committee may assist, promote, and enhance the quality of trainers.
A detailed questionnaire will be sent to all the national SSE coordinators to gather information on specific aspects of their SSE program. We expect to complete this survey before the conference so that we may have informed discussions leading to tangible follow-up actions. Our interests in gathering specific data will focus on the following:
- Program demographics (e.g., number of students, teachers, youth involved in the program)
- Student retention, especially in Groups III, IV
- Teacher training along with related material
- Parent involvement and training
- Youth involvement and training
- Coordinator and program level training
- Syllabus and assessment techniques used
The aggregated information will be presented at the conference and utilized to enhance the quality of the SSE program of the SSIO and provide greater global cooperation and support.
In order to allow the EC to gather all the data for the Conference may I request that on behalf of the Education Committee, Dr. Srinivas Raghavan, Member and Secretary of the Education Committee is allowed to contact the National SSE Coordinators directly for information on the current SSE programs, syllabus for the various SSE groups, and training of the SSE teachers.
You are cordially invited to participate and contribute towards the success of the very first international conference of the SSIO on SSE in Prasanthi Nilayam. The Education Committee invites your written submissions on any aspect of the work in the SSE program that in your view needs attention. Your suggestions and written submissions on strategies to improve the program quality, program delivery and assessment of the impact of SSE program will be especially welcome. Please send your submissions before 30th April 2015 to the following: