State of Teaching Hinduism in NSW Australia

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By Vijai Singhal and Surinder Jain (Hindu Council of Australia) 1st March 2018

Apart from various temples and organizations running their own religious and scripture classes, Hinduism is being taught in primary and secondary Schools.

At Primary School level (SRE) – An hour of class time is allowed in state schools per week to teach about religion. The subject is called Special religious Education (SRE). In the state of NSW, this SRE education is provided in some schools by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and in some others by Chinmaya Mission. Saiava Manram provides SRE of Saiva Manram faith in some of the Tamil schools. In total about 70-80 schools out of 2200 Primary State schools in NSW have Hinduism SRE teachers. Each of the education providers (e.g. VHP, Chinmaya, Saiva) have their own Syllabus and their own teaching material.

From 2018, the department has insisted that ” a formal syllabus, vetting of teachers identity, working with children check, training of teachers, a formal complain making and handling mechanism are put in place and made mandatory “. Both VHP and Chinmaya Mission have developed their own syllabus and teaching material. They are required to put up the syllabus on their web sites, VHP syllabus for years 1 to 6 is at http://vhp.org.au/content/hindu-scripture-classes and Chinmaya mission for years K-10 is at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JV8vg1-bK3rIZzotDHNL3Beu7kfathKi.

Hindus in Australia need to develop a common syllabus for teaching Hinduism as SRE in primary schools.

The department of education provides the class room full of students and it is up to SRE providers (religious organizations) to provide teachers, teaching material etc. The department does not provide any wages or training to these teachers.  Almost all of the teachers are working on voluntary basis paying for their own travel expenses and teaching material like photo copying etc.

Hindu in Australia need to find a way to fund these providers and the teachers.

At Secondary Education level – in NSW we have 2 Unit Study of Religions course in Secondary schools. Hindu Council was consulted in framing the original syllabus. This course covers 5 major religions, Hinduism is one of them. The course material is prepared by Cambridge University Press. We have seen lots of misrepresentation about Hinduism in that material. In last 2-3 years HCA have had discussions with Cambridge Uni Press officials to make changes to the material. With great difficulty HCA could achieve some changes but they pointed out to us that they have to follow the syllabus in preparing the material. e.g. in this, the main emphasis is always linked with the Hindu caste System –  like Hindu Ethics according to different castes.

Hindus in Australia need to develop their own authoritative teaching texts on Hinduism.

The Federal Govt had set up ACARA – Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority to set common syllabus for all different Australian States. At the moment all Sates follow their own syllabi. Prof Jayaraman and Vijai Singhal from HCA had attended some of the meetings of ACARA about teaching of religion. Religion is not going to be a separate subject like the NSW “Study of Religions” subject but is a part of teaching of History.

The World’s Oldest Icon Of Feminism

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You think Kangana Ranaut is a feminist? You must not have heard about Rishi Gargi then.  The Story Of Rishi Gargi: The World’s Oldest Icon Of Feminism Found In Ancient Hinduism.

[Read More …]

 

Hindu Council Gargi Woman Award

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On the International day of women 2018, Hindu Council of Australia has decided to institute an award for outstanding women in Australia who make a good role model for growing up Hindu girls and women. The award will consist of a commendation letter and will be awarded in multiple categories like Sports, Journalism, Performers, Defense, Community Carers, Home Carers, Seniors Carers, Educationist etc.

The award is named after an ancient Indian philosopher considered to be the first woman philosopher Gargi Vachaknavi (c. 7th century BCE). She is honored as a renowned expounder of the eternal knowledge in Vedic Literature.  She participated in a philosophic debate and challenged the established male sage Yajnavalkya, the only lady to do so.  She is also said to have written many hymns in the Rigveda. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

In 2018 the award will be presented by the President of Hindu Council of Australia at International Women Day ceremony on 11th March 2018 in Parramatta Parramasala.