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Characteristic and Distinctive Features of Sathya Sai Schools

A Sathya Sai School is a full-time, independent, private school that integrates secular education with spiritual education, fostering character development and the practice of human values in daily life, based on the spiritual teachings of Sathya Sai Baba.  

Sathya Sai Schools are anchored onto the traditions and cultures of their respective countries or localities and subject themselves to government oversight following the official curriculum of local and national educational authorities and preparing children for national examinations at different educational levels.

The characteristic features of Sathya Sai Schools which distinguish them from other private schools are:

  • An environment and culture of love, conducive to the emergence of universal human values through curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities
  • Non-denominational character, actively promoting the unity of all faiths
  • Striving to offer tuition-free education to all
  • Recognized by the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation (SSSWF) and Prasanthi Council as a Sathya Sai School

Mission Statement

All Sathya Sai Schools are expected to develop a mission statement reflecting the school’s objectives and goals.  The core elements of the mission statement should include the following: 

  1. To provide a curriculum that integrates the philosophy of Sathya Sai Educare and uses the pedagogy of Integral Education
  2. To create an environment, culture and ethos permeated by the active practice of the five inherent human values (Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love, Nonviolence) in daily life
  3. To be a model of academic excellence
  4. To provide education which is experiential and transformational in character, rather than imparting knowledge and skills alone
  5. To encourage the unity of thought, word and deed
  6. Developing an active social conscience in students and an inclination to render selfless service to others
  7. Selecting competent teachers with good character who strive to become exemplars of the human values
  8. To strive to maintain a student population that reflects local and national culture and, where appropriate, include children who due to economic hardships would have been precluded from quality education

School Curriculum

The school curriculum in a Sathya Sai School provides for the full development of human potential and a full range of learning activities embracing the body, mind and spirit.  The philosophy of Sathya Sai Educare and the pedagogy of Integral Education, which together distinguish Sathya Sai Education from other systems of education, underpin the school curriculum (all planned activities within and beyond the school day) in every Sathya Sai School.  

The Philosophy of Sathya Sai Education

The philosophical cornerstone of Sathya Sai Education is the concept of Sathya Sai Educare.  Sathya Sai Baba says,

Educare has two aspects, the worldly and the spiritual.  Worldly education brings out the latent knowledge pertaining to the physical world.  Spiritual education brings out the inherent divinity in man. So, both worldly and spiritual education are essential, without which the human life has no value

The guiding principles of the term Sathya Sai Educare in the context of Sai Education are:

  1. Divinity is love and it is manifested as the universal human values
  2. Sathya Sai Educare enables men and women to navigate the world and to realize their spiritual heritage
  3. The purpose of education is for living a fully human and spiritual life
  4. The end of education is character and character manifests itself as the unity of thought, word and deed

The Pedagogy of Sathya Sai Education

Sathya Sai Schools follow the pedagogy of Integral Education whose main features are:

  1. Combining spiritual and secular education in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities through the integration of human values in the school curriculum
  2. Creating an environment and culture of selfless Love conducive to the emergence of universal human values
  3. Using the five teaching techniques (storytelling; prayer or quotations; silent sitting and concentration; group singing and group activities) in combination with other strategies that are experiential and transformational
  4. Emphasizing the teacher as exemplar of the universal human values
  5. Fostering self-discipline, self-sacrifice and selfless service to the community
  6. Fostering self-confidence through cognizance that the conscience is the ultimate criterion to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad in human life
  7. Providing a rationale, intellectual and intuitive basis for spirituality in daily life, emphasizing the simultaneous development of “head, heart, and hand” (3HV)

Establishment of Sathya Sai Schools

In line with the established policy of the SSSWF, all SSEHV programmes and related institutions will remain under the administration of the SSSWF and Prasanthi Council. Institutes of Sathya Sai Education (ISSEs) will act as the implementation arm of SSSWF and Prasanthi Council in matters of SSEHV delivery and administration.  SSSWF and Prasanthi Council will designate a specific ISSE to oversee the establishment of a proposed Sathya Sai School and report to the SSSWF and Prasanthi Council.

Criteria for the establishment of Sathya Sai Schools

A Sathya Sai School will be established only after a case-by-case approval by the SSSWF and Prasanthi Council. 

When a proposal to establish a new Sathya Sai School is submitted, the SSSWF and Prasanthi Council will appoint a Planning Committee.  The Planning Committee will include the Director of an ISSE if one has been established in the country of the proposed school, a representative of the Education Trust if one has been established in the country of the proposed school, and the Zone Chairman or the Central Coordinator or the Chairman of the National Council or Coordinating Committee.  SSSWF and Prasanthi Council may, at its discretion, nominate additional educationists to be included in the Planning Committee

In conducting a feasibility study, the Planning Committee will take into consideration, among others, the following issues:

  1. Reason (or reasons) for establishing a Sathya Sai School
  2. Details of any available land, building and amenities, along with state and local  requirements for schools in the country
  3. A needs assessment study of local conditions, e.g. the number of local schools in the neighbourhood, social, cultural, economic and educational needs of the community and preliminary indications of interest from parents of children
  4. A five year development plan for the school along with projection of anticipated annual growth in school enrolment and related cash flow projections
  5. A proposal for the establishment of a Board of Governors/ Directors/Management for the school, including its functions and composition
  6. Evidence of compliance with the relevant Ministry of Education (e.g. Curriculum Council) guidelines
  7. Evidence that professional teachers with adequate training are willing to accept appointments and to undergo further training by the ISSE as necessary
  8. Evidence of availability of a Principal with professional excellence, leadership qualities, and appropriate state/national education certification who has thorough understanding of and commitment to the philosophy and pedagogy of Sathya Sai Education so as to inspire teachers to become exemplars
  9. Evidence of compliance with local laws and regulations including health, safety; related insurance

The chairman of the Planning Committee will submit a report to the SSSWF and Prasanthi Council. A copy of the report should be sent to the Zone Chair for his information.  Further action will then be determined by the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation. 

Governance of Sathya Sai Schools

Good governance is essential to ensure that a Sathya Sai School adopts policies that are consistent with its mission statement, and its stated goals and objectives are realized.  Consistent with the principles of good governance, progressive and coordinated delegation of responsibility and constructive oversight at different levels should be put in place so that every Sathya Sai School achieves excellence in standards.  A Sathya Sai School should have a two-tier governance system comprising:

  1. A Board of Management which should be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the School and the implementation of the school curriculum
  2. A Governing Body (A Board of Governors or Directors) which should be responsible for appointments, policy and longer term development issues

The day-to-day administration of the school and the implementation of the school curriculum will rest with the Board of Management (School Board) with oversight from the governing body (Board of Governors/Directors or any equivalent body established for this purpose).  The School Leadership, the parent body and where appropriate (e.g. in a secondary school) the student body should be represented in the School Board.

Key responsibilities of the Board of Management should include:

  1. Nurturing a school climate of love in which the five human values are actively practiced
  2. Implementing a school curriculum that effectively integrates the philosophy of Sathya Sai Educare and the pedagogy of Integral Education
  3. Assisting in periodic school inspection by local education authorities, and the implementation of recommendations arising from such reports
  4. Maintaining a harmonious relationship among the school staff and promptly and amicably resolving interpersonal conflicts within the school
  5. Acting as a link between the staff, parents and the community

Key responsibilities of the governing body (Board of Governors/Directors or any equivalent body established for this purpose) should include:

  1. Ensuring in a timely manner that the School remains well funded to meet its operational and development needs
  2. Selecting the Principal and the teaching staff with adequate training in the principles of Sathya Sai Education and with the motivation to undergo further training and transformation as necessary
  3. Preparing and implementing the development plans for the School in cooperation with the School leadership (Board of Management)

The governing body of a Sathya Sai School should, in accordance with relevant government regulations, represent all concerned parties in a balanced manner so that it remains credible and is able to discharge its responsibilities effectively. The governing body should include:

  1. A representative of the designated ISSE (as chairperson)
  2. A representative of the Sathya Sai Organisation
  3. A representative of the parent body
  4. The Principal of the School acting as the ex-officio Secretary 

Members of the governing body of a Sathya Sai School should be appointed in consultation with and with the consent of the designated ISSE and the approval of the SSSWF and Prasanthi Council.  

Support and Oversight by the designated ISSE

The SSSWF and Prasanthi Council will designate an ISSE or an Ad-hoc Committee of educationists to provide professional guidance, support and oversight to every Sathya Sai School. 

The designated ISSE will work closely with the school’s governing body (Board of Governors / Directors, or any equivalent body established for this purpose) and the school leadership (Board of Management) with a view to ensure that the school receives adequate professional guidance and support for its development.  Key areas of such support / oversight will include:

  1. Evaluation of all development plans for the school
  2. Formulation of the school’s policy (and review of any changes thereto) with regard to admission, acceptance of contributions from parents and other sources etc.
  3. Selection of and changes with respect to the members of the governing body of the school
  4. Appointments of the Principal of the School and other teaching staff
  5. Provision of adequate training to the teaching staff and evaluation of training
  6. Periodic inspections and assessment of the school standards on an on-going basis, ensuring that corrective measures as deemed appropriate by the designated ISSE are implemented in a timely manner
  7. Oversight of periodic school inspection by local education authorities and the implementation of recommendations arising from such reports

In all cases where there is a lack of consensus between the ISSE and the governing body of the school, the matter should be referred to SSSWF and Prasanthi Council through the Zone Chair for decision. 

Human Resources Management

Selection of staff

The Principal of a Sathya Sai School should possess professional excellence, leadership qualities, and appropriate state/national education certification and should have a thorough understanding of and commitment to the philosophy and pedagogy of Sathya Sai Education so as to inspire teachers to become exemplars and provide educational leadership.

Teachers of Sathya Sai Schools should be qualified and licensed or certified by the relevant local or national educational authority. In the selection of teachers, preference should be given to candidates conversant with the principles of Sathya Sai Education, who demonstrate a commitment for personal transformation and who are willing to undergo further training by an ISSE as necessary.

Nonprofessional employees of the School should also possess a comparable commitment to the principles of Sathya Sai Education and personal transformation.

Teacher training and development

Teachers are the standard bearers of Sathya Sai Education.  They carry the primary responsibility for bringing out the innate human values in children and fostering their nobility of character and academic ability.  Teacher training and development (both on recruitment and in-service training) should focus on:

  1. Increasing the teachers’ self-awareness of personal transformation and capacity to be an exemplar
  2. Effective integration of the human values and the effective use of the five teaching techniques in the school curriculum
  3. Regular peer review and self-review to support teachers in their quest for continually improving their teaching skills
  4. Continued improvement of teaching skills, particularly developing a capacity for educational innovation and creativity in designing lessons

The designated ISSE will carry the primary responsibility for teacher training and development in Sathya Sai Schools.

Financial and Asset Management

An independent SSEHV Trust, or an equivalent corporate body dedicated to SSEHV as permitted under local laws, should be established by the national Sathys Sai Organisation with the consent of the Zone Chair and the SSSWF and Prasanthi Council for financial and asset management of Sathya Sai Schools. 

All assets of Sathya Sai Schools should be held by the respective SSEHV Trust or equivalent corporate body, when established. 

Securing funds and other resources for a Sathya Sai School should be accomplished by strictly adhering to the guidelines of Sathya Sai Organization.  All donations should go to the appropriate trust. Where appropriate, a national/regional or zonal Sathya Sai Organization project may be considered to support a Sathya Sai School.

Sathya Sai Schools are non-profit institutions and should strive to provide education free of charge. 

Where contributions are received from parents to defray other expenses (e.g. transportation, special projects etc.) these should be charged at actual cost and should be kept at the lowest possible level.