Gandhi Ji once said, “By education I mean drawing out the best in child and man, body, mind and spirit.” As such education stands as a means and instrument of inculcating in man the best of human culture coupled with spiritual values and virtues. It shows humanity the right path by teaching the lofty ideals cherished by a culture over centuries of collective and civilized living. It has rightly been said ‘Learning is a means to liberate.’ True education liberates one from superstitions and other blind practices which have pushed the mankind into the dark alleys of communal hatred, violence and mutual distrust. Apart from developing professional efficiency and intellectual powers coupled with imparting knowledge, it is the highest responsibility of education to develop such human values as affection, love, peace, purity, truth, non-violence and compassion.
Education Wing : its Birth
Keeping the propagation and inculcation of these lofty ideals as goals of attainment, the Rajyoga Education and Research Foundation of the Brahma Kumaris established the Education Wing in 1982. Since its very inception the Education Wing has kept in mind the social and spiritual attainments that must be attained by humanity if man wishes to survive and grow on the path of moral and spiritual development.
After the formation of the Wing and formulating certain specific goals and ideals when the whole project and objectives were presented before BapDada, He conveyed His satisfaction at the Wings’ enthusiasm and utility of their plans and schemes. He said:
“It is good that each wing is serving their own cause, and that the Education Wing is doing it with enthusiasm. Each one is racing very well with one another. Seeing the zeal and enthusiasm of all the children, BapDada is pleased at showering them with flowers of love. You may makVa little effort, but that should be with love. Education consists in doing good work in culture, spirituality and building character. The Wing should adopt schools and colleges. It should be done in such a persuasive manner that the whole school and college accept this spiritual knowledge. Of course they are not going to stop studying their own conventional knowledge but they should add spiritual knowledge in all theirclasses.”
When BapDada was informed in detail about the plans and strategies of attaining educational goals of the Wing, BapDada expressed His satisfaction and commending the efforts of the Wing, He said, “It is quite good. But you must show the results after achieving them so that others are also inspired to emulate your example.”
All-India Children’s Personality Development Camps
It was in 1978 that an All-India Children’s Personality Development Camp was organized at Mount Abu, with the theme of ‘Catching them Young’. The idea was that values and spirituality should be inculcated at an early stage in human life. Though in the first such camp only about 50 children participated yet the programme not only gained in popularity and was also appreciated for it quality of training and impact in real life of the children. Since then this camp has been a regular feature and every year thousands of children from across the country participate in such camps. Now these camps are also organized at the Brahma Kumaris centers at ORC, Delhi, Chennai etc.
In the camp, children are exposed to spiritual sessions containing the gist of moral and ethical values, family values and spiritual values. At the same time, enough exposure to cultural activities and individual participation in elocution and essay writing competitions, drama, music, dance, songs, mono acting etc is also given in these camps.
These camps have given the opportunity to the participating children to excel in all walks of life. It has given the training to inculcate good habits and moral values in their day-to-day life. The magic power of meditation and spiritual knowledge constitute the crux of these camps. Quite a good number of children develop a deep love for Baba; and some of them tend to become the devoted children of Shiv Baba.
School and College Educators’ Grand Conferences
Every year, the Education Wing conducts at least one conference for College professors and educators and another for School Teachers and Educators under the banner of “Values & Spirituality” for the benefit of self, family, society and the world at large.
Search for an Ideal system
Our great leaders, educationists, men of letters, and great thinkers have always felt the urgent need for reinvigorating our education system, so as to make it compatible with the aspirations of the people in the post-independence era. Their anxiety in this respect is reflected in the setting up by the Central Government of high powered commissions from time to time to have a close look at the country’s educational system in its varied aspects and to make their recommendations for bringing about some ideal improvements in our education system.
However, the recommendations have not been able to make much headway at the implementation level as they have often fallen short of the then expectations. The significance of spirituality as an antidote to rank materialism and utter disregard of human values has not been fully appreciated, leading to deterioration in the quality of life.
Education Wing Takes up the Challenge
The campaign drew the attention of the participants to the fact that due to loss of values, human life has become deprived of affection, love and harmony. There prevails an atmosphere of tension and distrust in human relationships. This phenomenon has adversely affected both individual and societal life. With different discussions, dialogues, seminars and retreats the attention of the nation was drawn to these facts and efforts were made to awaken the youth to their duty towards not only the values in education but also the significance of clean and pure atmosphere and mental make-up for the healthy progress of civilization.
Vision of ‘Clean the Mind and Green the Earth’ Project
To create awareness amongst the masses, youth and Institutions about the adverse impact of waste and negative thinking on the environment, plants and animals and the natural forces, the Education Wing initiated the novel idea of ‘Clean the Mind and Green the Earth’. The natural elements, which govern timely rain, appropriate climatic conditions and well being of human life, are being ruthlessly neglected by the modern so called progress. The campaign created an awareness about the importance of planting trees and creating an eco friendly, environment friendly, socio-friendly life system through Raja Yoga lifestyle.
Mental pollution is the root cause of all pollution in the world. Negative, vicious and waste thinking of internal pollution, pollutes the external atmosphere. Therefore the project focuses on awakening the spiritual component of human consciousness to create harmony in the human mind to integrate it with the natural forces of the five elements. This will also restore balance within self and the populace, which is essential for addressing imbalance of physical elements – air, water, fire, space and earth. Rajyoga Meditation is a powerful spiritual practice that gives personal empowerment, increases moral and ethical reasoning and better communication skills. It establishes a mental link with the Supreme Source of spiritual energy, The Supreme Soul that empowers the souls to create positive, pure and elevated thoughts, which not only frees the souls from sorrow, misery, pain, depression, fear, anxiety, illness, insecurity and phobias but also consequently makes a very pleasant and positive impact on the social and natural environment. This realization, which is indispensable in the fast changing times of material growth, must guide the human endeavour.
MOU with Annamalai University
Education Wing of Raja Yoga Education and Research Foundation of Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya proposed to conduct a formal education programme “Post Graduate Diploma in Value Education and Spirituality” for the graduate degree holders of Indian nationality. World renowned Chidambaram Annamalai University agreed to launch the programme in Technical Collaboration with Brahma Kumaris Education Wing as a Distance Education Programme. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Vice Chair-Person of Education Wing, B.K. Mruthyunjaya and the Vice Chancellor of Annamalai university Dr. M. Ramanathan on 7th February, 2009.
Launching Ceremony of PG Diploma
The Education Wing of Rajyoga Education and Research Foundation and Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya organized a National Level University and College Educators Conference-cum-Retreat on “Education in Values and Spirituality” from 27th to 31st May 2009 at Shantivan, Mount Abu. During the inaugural Session of this Conference on 28th May 2009, in the presence of the prestigious gathering of thousands of University and College teachers the launching ceremony of the Post Graduate Diploma in Value Education and Spirituality (PGDVES) programme took place.
This milestone of the Brahma Kumaris was collectively achieved by our Divine Dadi Janaki ji, the Chief of Brahma Kumaris and the Vice Chancellor of Annamalai University, Dr.M.Ramanathan.
Programme Features :- As per the MOU, Programme Director of the Education Wing is to design the curriculum and syllabus for the course and get the approval from the authorities of University for the contents, genuineness, validity, weightage and standard to confirm that it is at par with other PG Diploma courses of the University. It is also the responsibility of the Education Wing to create Faculties and Personal Contact Programme centres. Evaluation of theory papers is also the responsibility of Education Wing. The University has the role of conducting examinations and issuing Certificates.
The minimum qualification for admission to this One-Year Diploma course is graduation in any stream of academic or technical education from any Indian University The programme has five courses four of which are theoretical and the last one is a practical paper with a field project.
Scheme of Examinations
The scheme is devised to give good learning training to students and attempts to continuously assess their progress. As such the course has a scheme of Internal Assessment carrying a weightage of 25%. Each course has five units, at the end of which are given some assignments to be attempted by the candidate. These assignments are supposed to be written by the candidate and sent to the University by a fixed date for their evaluation. These marks are added to the examination performance of the candidate. Hence the four written examinations carry a total of 300 marks while 100 marks are earmarked for the assignments sent by him/ her.
The practical course consists of two parts, Personal Progress Manual and Field Project each having 50 marks external and no internal marks. At the time of examination the candidate has to submit both. Marks are allotted as per the worth of the manual and project and the candidate’s performance in the viva-voce examination. Minimum pass marks for each course are 50 and for the practical it is 25 in each part.
Personal Contact Programme
Though the candidates are expected to study the courses on their own, from the study material provided by the university, however to throw proper light on every subject and clarify their doubts, Personal Contact Programmes (PCP) are conducted for fourteen days at the approved personal contact programme centers of the Brahma Kumaris. It is mandatory for every candidate to attend the programme otherwise they lose their eligibility to appear in the examinations.
Faculty Development Programme
To equip every PCP center with a suitable number of resource personnel to conduct the PG Diploma personal contact programme, a National level Faculty Development Programme (FDP) was organized at Shantivan, Mount Abu from 10 to 13, November 2009. Hundreds of participants along with their PCP center co-coordinators received the training. Many intellectuals from the Brahma Kumaris and the Annamalai University rendered their services to make the participating teams empowered to run the PCP centers efficiently and successfully.
Similar Faculty Development Programmes were also conducted at the Regional level at Chennai and Hyderabad.
During the very first year of Diploma there was an over whelming response as about 2200 candidates were admitted from all over India.
It may be surprising to note that the candidates came from all age-groups from 20 years to 70 years and the university provided the facility in three languages.
After the successful completion of the course, certificate awarding ceremony was arranged
Marching on to the Path of Growth
The Education Wing, like the process of continuous education, intends to move on from one milestone to the other, from one goal to the other, till the whole human race gets the benefit of Godly Knowledge. Hence two more courses have been added during this academic year 2011-12 -Master of Business Administration (MBA) in “Self Management & Crisis Management”, and the other is Diploma Course in “Value Education & Spirituality”. Launching ceremony of these two programmes took place at Gyan Sarovar at a National conference on “Global Peace through Values & Spirituality” during the first week of June 2011 .As on date there are 135 PCP centers throughout India and Nepal. Courses will be given in 8 languages for the current academic year. A few more courses like “Value Education in Health Care” are in the pipeline.
Marching on to the Path of Growth
The Education Wing, like the process of continuous education, intends to move on from one milestone to the other from one goal to the other till the whole human race gets the benefit of the Godly Knowledge. Hence two more courses have been added during this academic year 2011-12 — Master of Business Administration (MBA) in “Self Management & Crisis Management”, and the other is Diploma Course in “Value Education & Spirituality”. Launching ceremony of these two programmes took place at Gyan Sarovar in a National conference on “Global Peace through Values & Spirituality” during the first week of June 2011 .As on date there are 135 PCP centers throughout India and Nepal, Courses will be given in 8 languages for the current academic year. Few more courses like “Value Education in Health Care” are in the pipe line.
The Education Wing of the RE & RF hopes to add many more such courses as can instil spirituality in human race and when the Brahma Kumaris can have their University aiming to achieve values and spirituality in human conduct. Since the ways and means of God are knowf>only to God, He is doing and showing His magic with the human mediums.