The 2018 Sai National Education Conference was held at the Sai School in Murwillumbah from Friday 8 June to Monday 11 June, and it was a humbling privilege to be a part of the organising committee.
What a blessing! A weekend dedicated to delve into, explore, inspire and experience “Sathya Sai Education for a Changing World”. It was an opportunity to bring the goodness out from within us and into our environment; love and warmth radiated from everyone throughout the whole weekend.
The three keynote speakers, Marianne Meyer, Angela Loraine Burrows and Abhimanyu Kaul inspired and enthralled everyone with their many experiences with Sathya Sai Baba. Each experience had a profound message and had us wanting more:
- Abhimanyu reminded us that the teacher is an exemplar of sacrifice, inspiration and love. A true teacher teaches the children and the learning comes naturally; the subject matter becomes secondary. He reminded us that our core human aspirations are eternal and universal by nature, and do not change under different circumstances.
- Marianne Meyer, while speaking on self-transformation, reiterated that we should let go and inspire to change ourselves. What are the gaps that we need to fill? We cannot change others so we must focus on ourselves. She explained the formal education in the Sathya Sai Schools and Institutes, SSEHV in State and Private schools and non-formal education in the form of SSE, and SSEHV in communities for non-devotees. She emphasised that both Education and Educare were essential for success.
- Loraine Burrows delivered an inspiring session on opportunities and constraints in the implementation of Sathya Sai Education, based on learnings from the Sathya Sai School in Thailand. Teachers committed to being good examples, fulfilling their responsibilities and selfless service were the key to the success of the school. The school, being a model school, produces students who are ready to serve humanity. The environment is one that educators can learn from, and the goal of the school is to become totally self-sufficient. Already, they have their own rainwater tanks, and use this to grow and harvest all the rice needed to feed teachers, children, and staff throughout the year. They also have solar farms at the school.
Local speakers and presenters shared many aspects of Sathya Sai Education in Australia. Their many initiatives, experiences and messages were welcomed and appreciated by all delegates. The young adults shared their motivational experiences and inspiring journey from being SSE students to becoming SSE teachers. Two students of Raj Chandan also shared their touching experiences of the effect of human values being integrated in their classes at school.
The performances of the primary and secondary school children from both campuses were phenomenal. They excelled in their presentations whether it was through music or speech. Their inherent divinity touched every heart in the audience and brought tears to many eyes. It clearly demonstrated that one does not have to have the label of Sai devotee to uphold the five human values; these students are already excellent ambassadors of Sathya Sai Baba.
Prior to the conference, all delegates were invited to send in their burning issues and questions in relation to Sathya Sai Education in Australia. These were collated to form topics for a series of five workshops at the conference. These sessions focused on streamlining the future of Sathya Sai education in Australia in ten years’ time and what would it look like. Each group came up with an ideal scenario, and a small group will now work on these and prepare some final outcomes which will be put into place going forward.
On the last day of the conference the delegates had the opportunity to visit the Sathya Sai High School in Dungay. The divine, peaceful energy was felt by all upon arrival. After having a delicious breakfast prepared by our group of Sai devotees from NSW Region West, we took part in Nagarsankirtan (devotional singing whilst walking through a designated area; in this case, the school grounds). It was one of the most beautiful experiences, as the cool breeze blew past and the soft rays of the sun shone down on us while we sang the glory of our Lord Sai and radiated the energy all around. We also had the opportunity of seeing the classrooms and other facilities.
The presence of Sathya Sai Baba in the form of love was felt throughout the conference. It was indeed a weekend to recharge and return home happy and blessed.