The morning of the final day of the Global Education Conference began with a video presentation on the ancient and current systems of education, featuring modern day schools which impart spiritual knowledge alongside secular education. This was followed by a short video presentation on the Annapoorna breakfast service initiative which provides free breakfast to the underprivileged school-going children of India, and six countries
The morning programme then continued with a summary of all the discussions and presentations which had taken place during the first two days, and an introduction to global model/framework for a values-based education system which can be implemented around the world, was made.
Thereafter, Dr Tobin Hart from the USA presented his summary and thoughts on the discussions that had taken place. Drawing on his own personal experiences, Dr Hart spoke about the importance of being aware of a higher power or Divinity, an awareness which already exists within children and needs to be nourished and cultivated so that the innate capacities of their humanity can be drawn out.
Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak then metaphorically spoke about the education system being like a tree, where the heart forms the roots, the head forms the trunk and hands form the branches. He spoke about the need to nurture the roots of this tree of education so that knowledge can be used wisely and does not become toxic. In order to nurture the heart or roots, values need to be integrated into secular education so that the tree becomes strong and it is the kind of values that are inculcated that dictate how strong the tree becomes.
Then, Mr Nimrod Sheinman continued from the previous two speakers and spoke further on the metaphor of the tree, saying that the tree should be able to give shade and fruits to others. He addressed all the teacher delegates, saying that they are now set to become the gardeners for this new generation of trees waiting to be grown and nurtured. He talked about the World Health Organisation’s recognition of the fact that there is “a need for a holistic, healthy setting in order to create optimal health”. He explained the definition of health as being a fuller expression, appreciation and acceptance of love. Therefore, by creating a healthy generation of children, a healthy future can be created. In order to achieve a healthy child, a tri-partite relationship between the student, parent and teacher is required, so that each of the three can be of help to one another.
Professor Mirian Vilela then offered her reflections and furthering on from the tri-partite relationship of student, parent and teacher, she added that the environment is an equally important aspect of learning. She said that much of our learning comes from the world view which is influenced by environment and has an illusionary sense of disconnection between people and the large, living world. She talked about the importance of bringing in awareness of the belonging to a larger Earth community and emphasised on developing the ability to question the notion of what is considered normal in society. She said that this generation should be the one to stand up and invest in social transformation, becoming a force for change.
The final speaker for the morning session, was Dr James Biddulph who shared some of the ideas which had emerged from the two days. He said that values-based education is important and vital to develop within schools and teachers have a uniquely powerful role to affect change in their classrooms. He spoke about empowering teachers and how teachers can affect the community, while policy enablers can affect the models of teacher training. These in turn, have an effect on children who will then impact society at large. He said that the mind or head could correspond with enquiry or wisdom, the hands with service-mindedness and the heart as a source of peacefulness and caring, thus creating a wholesome, well-rounded human being. Thereafter, Dr Biddulph concluded his remarks by illustrating the importance of empowering oneself, using an interactive story.
This was followed by a short question and answer session with the five distinguished speakers, which included Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, after which the morning session concluded.
The evening session of the final day of the Global Education Conference began with the Valedictory function.
The programme began with an address by Sri T B Jayachandra, former Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Karnataka, who highlighted the need for the will of people to be concretised and integrated into the policy-making environment.
This was followed by an address by Sri Umashankar S R, Principal Secretary in the Department of Primary and Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka. He stressed upon the need for policies to go beyond changes in governments in order to bring about sustainable change.
Thereafter, an explanation of the 3-H model of the Heart, Head and Hand which evolved as an outcome of the deliberations during the conference was presented. A fully blossomed child develops into an integrated personality for whom the 3-H formula works in perfect harmony. This will then allow for a compassionate heart, brilliant head and competent hands. This is possible through well planned academic programmes, physical education, spiritual and cultural activities to balance their personality.
This was further elaborated by Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak (Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia). He highlighted that the simplified model can be implemented by anyone who appreciates the worth of values, thereby transforming this into a global value-based movement.
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy addressed the gathering next and highlighted the irrelevance of extensive knowledge in the absence of knowledge about the supreme truth. He further elaborated on the only two truths that one needs to know, i.e. 1) Life should be lived in surrender to God by moving from our ego-centric nature to God-centric nature. 2) See God in one and all and therefore love all as one.
Baba then granted His Divine Message and spoke about the many number of scholars who, despite gaining immense knowledge, simply summarised the essence of Spirituality as to ‘Love All and Serve All’. “This basic message of love is at the core of the values-based education model developed as part of the conference. Our heart houses the supreme Truth, which should guide our head, which should in turn move our hands.” He said that, despite great intellectual developments in the world today, we see extremes of disparity and divide. This is because of the selfishness of people. Education based on Love is the only solution to this problem. A student thus educated would have the kind heart of Buddha, sharp mind of Adi Shankara and competent hands of King Janaka. Baba continued, saying that all ability with no nobility is dangerous and all nobility with no ability is useless. Therefore, one must do duty with hands, discriminate with the power of the mind and lead life with the love that arises from the heart. He announced His wish to conduct an international survey with all stakeholders (teachers, policy makers, parents and students) based on this model, the results of which would be presented at the next conference in May 2020.
After a short break, the Sai’s Angels boys’ brass band and the Sai’s Symphony girls’ brass band, performed magnificent musical pieces, with short video clips and talks by the students interspersed between songs. Leaving the audience spellbound amidst the roaring thunder outside, the two bands came together for the finale, playing a mesmerising rendition of the popular Bhajan, Love is My Form. Baba then blessed the bands with group photographs and tokens of His love. He then explained to the gathering that the reason that the students were able to play so well, was because they were playing for God and God alone. Therefore, children must be encouraged to do everything for God so that they achieve the best in every endeavour.
Thereafter, Mangala Arati was offered to Baba and Prasadam was distributed to all.