His Holiness The Dalai Lama, graced the Somaiya Vidyavihar campus to inaugurate two new schools of study — the Somaiya School and Sanskriti: the centre for Indian cultural and religious studies. Prachi Rege reports.
Keeping in tune with His Holiness Dalai Lama`s words, “India is a tolerant country, where all communities display harmony and ahimsa is an ethical value in your culture,” mentioned in one of his teachings recently conducted at the Somaiya Vidyavihar campus, the Somaiya Education Trust is looking to focus and revitalise their religious studies departments.
The Centre for Buddhist Studies and the KJ Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham department are now housed under one roof called the Sanskriti building. The building was inaugurated by His Holiness. “Each department will continue to offer their own diploma courses, conduct research and PhD programmes which they have been offering till now. However, the proximity will now initiate inter departmental dialogue,” informs Kala Acharya, director of the Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham. Inside the centre, there will be yoga and meditation hall and also a prayer auditorium which will be used for inter-religious debates. “Through our debates we will facilitate an open dialogue between the three main religions in our country—Hindu, Muslim and Christains,” she says.
Since it is unwise to completely shun out ancient theosophical thoughts, most courses taught in each of these centres, combine them to modern business and management functioning. “We bridge the gap between school of thoughts, which are at two ends of the spectrum. Your job earns you a lot of money, but it is important to give back to the society, which gives real meaning to the monetary success,” sites Acharya as an example of amalgamation. While the departments will work in tandem with each other, each of them will ensure not to lose their unique identity and distinguishing character.
Starting this academic year, in order to reach out to younger students, the education trust, which have been a specialist in the higher education sector, is now hosting The Somaiya School on its campus. Spread across three acres of land on the 65 acres Somaiya Vidyavihar campus, the school has been inaugrated by His Holiness. Affliated to the CBSE board, the school for now has classes till class V.
“Our research suggested that the area surrounding the Vidyvihar campus didn`t have a CBSE board school, something that parents in the area were looking out for. Hence, we decided to be the suppliers of this demand,” says Amrita Somaiya, Trustee, The Somaiya School.
The school will start functioning this academic year and will provide facilities such as badminton, squash and tennis courts, a 400 meter running track, football and cricket fields. “To provide students personalised attention, the teacher- student ratio of 1:10 has been maintained,” informs Somaiya. She further adds that the focus of the school is to build the child’s self esteem.
While the school will follow CBSE curriculum rules and also use international method of teaching in classroom, students will be kept in sync with Indian values and culture. “In our curriculum, unlike other CBSE schools, besides English, Hindi and French, we will teach languages like Marathi and Sanskrit from class I,” she informs.