Indonesian Delegation at SSSIHL – A Report…

In September 2010, a Peer team from the NAAC (National assessment and Accreditation Council of India) visited the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning for assessment and re-accreditation. The NAAC team were accompanied by couple of observers from the Indonesian Govt to oversee the procedure and methodology of the accreditation process. During their brief day stay here, the two observers were extremely impressed by the unique aspects of education imparted here at the SSSIHL. Soon after their return, they got in touch with the Institute of Sathya Sai Education in Indonesia to know more.

In the month of November 2011, SSSIHL received letter of from the Directorate of Islamic Higher Education, Indonesia, expressing their desire to send a team of teachers to study the process by which value education was imparted at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of higher Learning. They were proposing to visit two universities in India – the Bombay university and the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. They spent 5 days in Mumbai and about 3 weeks at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam.

About the Participants

Ten teachers (8 male and 2 females) representing different faculties (such as English, Law, Politics, education etc) from 5 different universities (Public as well as private) were part of the visiting team. They were all Muslims and the universities they were representing impart Islamic education. These universities come under the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Govt of Indonesia. The Govt. of Indonesia selected about 100 teachers from various Islamic universities to travel to different parts of world to study various aspects of University education. Two other teams were similarly touring Egypt and Australia. These teachers were selected based on their track record and their potential as future administrators of these universities.

Visit to SSSIHL

During their 20 day stay here, they were exposed to the various elements of the Sathya Sai System of Integral System Education which combines the best of both – Ancient Wisdom and Modern Methodology catering to all the facets of the human personality – Physical, Mental and Spiritual. The administrators of SSSIHL (Registrar and Controller of Examinations) made the opening presentation which gave them a broad perspective, evolution and current standing of the SSSIHL.

They were immediately able to identify the pivotal importance that the Revered Founder Chancellor, our beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has had on developing of this unique system of education and soon they wanted to know more about Him. On the second day they were shown video documentaries about Bhagawan and the innumerable projects that He has undertaken for the benefit of mankind and also the work which is being done in His name all across the world. This formed the foundation for their understanding of what they were going to experience during their visit.

They spent time, over three weeks,  at the Prasanthi Nilayam campus where they interacted with the Directors, Heads of departments, faculty members, visiting faculty, research scholars and students.

In brief, they were acquainted with the unique features of the Institute. They attended the Thursday moral classes and the awareness class. They were shown videos about the     Grama Seva program and Sports meet. They were invited to the Hostel where the senior hostel teachers showed them the Self-reliance departments and dormitory style of living. They were exposed to the important role teachers play by living in the hostel with students.

They also attended the Vedam and Bhajan sessions in Sai Kulwanth Hall. They also visited the Brindavan campus (Whitefield) and the Anantpur campus (Anantpur) for two days respectively. Several questions about the philosophy, methodology and impact of this system of education were addressed in various forums and interactions during their visit..

They also interacted with the Alumni of our university in Bangalore to get a first hand knowledge about the impact of this values based education on the daily lives of the alumni.

The Director General of Islamic Education, who was to visit Bangalore to be briefed prior to their departure to Indonesia drove down to Puttaparthi to gain firsthand knowledge about SSSIHL. Prof. Muhammed Ali, the head of Islamic Education in Indonesia under the Ministry of Religious Affairs was briefed by the visiting team members about their experience at SSSIHL.

Some excerpts from the report entitled “Lessons Learnt in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning” that they submitted to the administration are reproduced hereunder.

Seeing is believing. This proverb may best illustrate our sojourn at SSSIHL. If we do not see it ourselves, we would find it hard to believe anybody telling us the story about a university which takes no fee from students, yet excels in education… Our short study of SSSIHL has been a rewarding one…

Lesson One : Spirituality

Religion that should function as a path to God has been turned to be used as a tool of oppression and legitimation of social, political, and cultural domination of narrow and short-sighted mundane interest. It is in this context that we can understand the tremendous significance of SSSIHL. By promoting the unity of religions, SSSIHL serves as a melting pot of divergent beliefs, cultures and races. During our sojourn, we witnessed harmonious interaction between the people; they may have been of different beliefs and religions, but they respect each other and accept the difference.

Lesson Two: Character Building

Compared to other systems of education, that of SSSIHL is uniquely designed to foster the physical, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of the students.

Lesson Three: Role Modelling

…It is exactly this very concept of role modelling that has been practised in SSSIHL since the early stage of its inception. “To be, to do, to tell” is one of many phrases that encapsulate the approach to synchronize an utterance and deed.

Lesson Four: Modesty coupled with Intelligence

Simplicity becomes the life style. All faculty members dress up modestly in white uniform. The students in the hostel also live a simple life; sharing the room, and sitting on the floor during meal time. However, when it comes to education, SSSIHL accepts no compromise in the quality; it provides the cutting-edge multimedia facilities, ultra modern laboratory equipment, international-standard sport centre along with highly reputed faculty.

Lesson Five: Compassion

It is God’s grace that SSSIHL has been working hard to set an example for the people to do service to society at large.

All His life, Sai Baba showed others by his graceful action that people from all walks of life need compassion, and only by compassion the man will live the life in dignity. The legacy of Sai Baba’s compassion can be seen in many aspects of life in Puttaparthi. During our short visit, we can feel the ambiance of compassion that emanates from our surroundings. In the hostel, around the campus, inside the ashram, and in the hotel vicinity, we find people of peaceful mind and loving thought.

II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II