Prasanthi Diary...
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OCTOBER 28TH-30TH, 2003

In the year of its Golden Jubilee celebrations (2002-2003) the University Grants Commission has, among other things, chosen to focus its attention on a review and restructuring of higher education in the country. One of the major issues that has very appropriately been taken up for serious deliberations and subsequently a concrete THE CONFERENCEplan of action, has been the one relating to the introduction of human values and ethics in our higher educational system. The University Grants commission (UGC) has shown wisdom by deciding to begin such deliberations at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL). It is by now widely recoginsed that this institution stands uniquely distinguished for incorporating human values as an integral component of its system of education. The exact form of this first step in tackling the world wide problem of erosion in human values and a growing distance between the inculcation of ethical values and educational processes was the Vice Chancellors' seminar, held at the SSSIHL with the Divine Blessings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba during Tuesday, October 28th through Thursday, October 30th, 2003. The overall theme of the seminar was "Promoting Value Education and Ethics". The seminar was inaugurated by Bhagawan in the morning on 28th October with His Divine Discourse which created the most appropriate ambience for further deliberations.

The seminar was attended by Prof.Arun Nigavekar, Chairman, UGC, who gave the keynote address in the first business session, Justice Ranganath Misra, formerly Chief Justice of India and Chairman, National Human Rights commission, Justice Malmath, former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, Prof.V.S.Prasad, Director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Vice-Chancellors of 18 reputed universities in India , the present ViceTHE VICE CHANCELLORS ARRIVE Chancellor of the SSSIHL, Sri S. V. Giri and his predecessor, Prof.G.Venkataraman, senior officials of the UGC and Higher Education Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh. Notably, the participating Vice-Chancellors represented women's universities, universities of distance education, deemed universities, agricultural universities, central and state universities spread across the length and breadth of India.

On the morning of 28th, Sri S.V.Giri started the proceedings with his address where he touched upon the concept of integral education at the SSSIHL which incorporates values in all aspects of learning.

THE UGC CHAIRMAN ADRESSES THE GATHERINGAfter Sri S V Giri, Prof. G.Venkataraman, former Vice-chancellor of the SSSIHL addressed the audience on the crisis facing modern education and how to overcome it. He said that the power of Morality was greater than any other power and that one need not feel diffident in talking about it and practicing it. The next speaker was Sri Arun Nigevekar, Chairman of UGC. He pointed out the inadequacy of mere Higher education and stressed the need for Values and Ethics. Sri Ranganath Misra, Chairman , National Human Rights Commission, speaking on the occasion agreed with the earlier speakers on the importance of values in education, right from the primary school level and prayed for the Grace of Bhagawan in bringing about this transformation.

Giving his Divine inaugural address, Bhagawan said that the most important of all values is love and that the fundamental knowledge lies in asking oneself 'who am I ?'. He said that contrary to popular belief spirituality is easy and one just needed to have faith to start with.ASK WHO AM I

The deliberations of the seminar were spread over seven business sessions in addition to the inaugural session on 28th October morning. Various themes related to the main topic were discussed. They included: Policy Frame work and operational model, An integral approach to education and educational philosophy, Science technology and value inculcation, management education and value orientation, service orientation and responsible citizenship etc…

Every evening, all the delegates of the conference would assemble in the Sai Kulwanth hall in the Divine presence when the summary of the day's deliberations would be read out to the vast gathering. Also, students of the SSSIHL spoke on how because of the Divine Guidance of Bhagawan, their revered Chancellor, they could internalize and practise the concepts of integral value education. They spoke in Hindi, English, Telugu and even in Sanskrit! The delegates were thrilled with the splendid oratory of the students, who spoke full of feelings from the heart.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSE WITH THE VCSOn the evening of 30th October, the concluding day of the seminar, all the delegates once again assembled in the Kulwanth hall in the Divine Presence. Prof.V.S.Prasad, The director of NAAC, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, placed before Bhagavan the recommendations emerging out of the seminar deliberations. All the delegates felt that imparting human values in higher education was the need of the hour and came up with various suggestions on how to do it. Above all, they were unanimous in their appreciation of the SSSIHL and expressed gratitude to Bhagavan for giving them an opportunity to come to be in His Divine Presence. They said that the SSSIHL was a practical and ideal example of successfully imparting value education to students and recommended that it be declared as a 'National Centre for Exellence' in value education.

Prof. Jaya Shankaran, the Vice Chancellor of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahavidyalaya summed it up all in his eloquent speech when he said that it is from institutions like SSSIHL, that the country looked forward to future leaders. He said that the only solution of transforming all the 300 Universities was for Bhagavan to take those many multiple forms and guide each one of them personally.

Let us hope and pray to Bhagavan, that by His grace, very soon all the educational institutions in the country and the entire world would follow the noble example set forth by Him through the SSSIHL and make the world a happy and a peaceful place.


Volume 01: PDS / 07 Date : DEC 01 2003