More than 700 teachers gathered for the Hindu teachers
convention at the Maha Sabha Headquarters, St Augustine, on
November 11. Feature speaker was Prof Ramesh Deosaran and
director of school supervision Roland Maharaj represented
the Minister of Education.
On behalf of the Maha Sabha Education Board of Management,
I reminded teachers of our humble beginnings and the contributions
they have made to develop quality education:
The Maha Sabha began its contribution to the education sector
in 1952 with the establishment of six primary schools. Since
then we have expanded to 43 primary schools, five secondary
schools and 15 preschool centres.
Over the years we have focused a tremendous amount of our
resources on the school plant and personnel as we sought to
produce students of the highest calibre from our institutions.
Our schools are today among the best in the country.
Our teachers are the best in the land. Our administrators
(principals and vice principals) lead the way in many areas
of education. And today, I want to pay tribute to the invaluable
contributions of our teachers and principals within the Maha
Sabha education system.
Over the years we have sought to upgrade our staff with relevant
training in principalship, teaching and learning. Among the
many courses/workshops conducted by the Maha Sabha the following
Managing the School, conducted for us by the Industrial
Development Corporation in 1993; the Principalship
(1995) and Teaching of Religious Education in our Schools,
conducted by the Pandits Parishad in 1997.
Conflict Resolution and Problem Solving was conducted
on behalf of the Maha Sabha Education Board by Dr Rampaul
in 1998, while a course on Lifelong Learning of the
Principalship was managed by the IOB (UWI) in 20032005
It is our view that in the partnership between the Maha Sabha
and the State, the State has its own training programme but
we must also play our part as an education board of management.
As part of our thrust in this direction, we have set up a
review team to examine the performance of our schools on an
individual basis. The aim is to enhance the performance in
all schools. Recommendations have been forwarded to my board
and we are in process of studying the contents.
The Maha Sabha shares the view that the academics cannot be
taught in isolation in our schools. We believe that culture
and religion must form the foundation of our educational drive.
The secular and the sacred are inseparable. It is for this
reason religious instructions and culture form the cornerstone
of our education system.
In this regard, we have developed the Baal Vikaas Festival
and other programmes in our schools. These programmes now
serve as the bedrock of our educational success.
Dr Shanker Deyal Sharma, deceased president of India, in his
collection of speeches (Horizons of Indian Education) wrote:
There is no science without sublimity and no education
without enlightenment. A totally materialistic world is like
a paper flower. It may last longer but exists without natural
fragrance and an inner potentiality to multiply its message.
Unfortunately, our modern education system is like this paper
I want to make it abundantly clear that in the selection of
teachers and principals, while we accept the conditionalities
on academics as agreed to with the State, we look for additional
qualities in our staffreligious ideals, support of board
activities, cultural capabilities and community involvement.
For us, a principal or teacher is much more than an administrator
or provider of education for its children. He is an icon in
his own community, a leader in his own right. He is on the
front line of the Maha Sabha.
The Maha Sabha will continue to be ever vigilant in its quest
for excellence. We will ensure that every child within our
system gets the best that the system can offer. Our schools
were built for that purpose and it is our duty to see that
our principals and teachers deliver on that promise.
Children tend to learn more from the hidden curriculum than
the written curriculum. When a teacher stands in front of
a class, the children learn and pattern a great deal from
the teacher in terms of dress, speech, deportment and mannerisms.
How a teacher dresses sends a lesson to the children.
It is unfortunate that some people who purport to speak on
behalf of teachers are themselves improperly attired. They
could be mistaken for vagrants.
A case in point is last weeks diatribe by a past teachers
union leader who we thought was not dressed as a teacher but
sought to attack the integrity of the denominational boards
of education. He must understand that the majority of primary
schools are owned and operated by these boards who account
for more than two-thirds of the children attending primary
You have our thanks and blessings!
MAHARAJ is the Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha