Venkat Raman –
Education constitutes one of the most important activities of the Sikh community and the Sikh Heritage School (earlier known as the Khalsa School) in the South Auckland suburb of Takanini is an example of such commitment.
The School marked its Silver Jubilee in 2015, bringing pride and joy to Principal Jasvir Kaur, Chairperson Dr Kiran Pal Kaur and Coordinator Amarjit Kaur.
Strength to strength
Established in 1989 with five students, it today accounts for more than 300 students and 20 teachers. The primary aim of the Sikh Heritage School is to promote the Punjabi language, culture, traditional and social values and religious sentiments among the growing generation. The School began at the Gurdwara Sahib Otahuhu and shifted to Takanini in 2005, soon after the Takanini Gurdwara Sri Kalgidhar Sahib was established.
In 2009, the Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand, which manages the School decided to change the name to ‘Sikh Heritage School,’ reflecting the need to protect and promote traditional values.
Over the years, thousands of students have benefited from the School.
The Society acquired the land adjoining the School to construct a larger facility and cater to the growing needs of the community.
On a general note, such Schools are dedicated to shape the character and personality of children and promote Academic, Sikh and Cultural programmes.
These Schools provide the right environment to support and encourage students to maintain a Khalsa identity with high self-esteem and self-confidence.
The Curriculum of these Schools usually comprises Sikh History, Sikh Religion, Gurbani, Kirtan, Sikh Culture and Sikh Literature, in addition to teaching Punjabi.
Guru Angad, the second Guru stressed mental as well as physical development through Education, Sports and Discipline.
Guru Nanak Dev, Founder of the Sikh religion said, “Salvation can only by gained by education and knowledge and not by futile acts or rituals like piercing ears. Make feet out of fear, hands ‘out of love and eyes out of education; in this way, O wise woman shall you meet the bridegroom (God).”
Guru Granth Sahib
According to Guru Granth Sahib, the true congregation of the true Guru, is the school for the soul, where the glorious virtues of the Lord are studied.
“He Himself is the school, He Himself is the teacher, and He Himself brings the students to be taught. Meet with the Guru, be a sincere student of proper conduct, and suffering shall never touch you.