Venue: Sera Jey Secondary School, Bylakuppe
Date: 22 - 23 December 2017
Organized by: Department of Education and Sera Jey Secondary School
Funded by: Delek Children's Foundation
There is no question about the existing critical global issue regarding the deterioration of values and ethics amongst people of all walks of life which leads to disturbances to oneself and also to others. It is deeply felt everywhere that, along with the human brain, the mind should also be trained with all the values needed to make the person good and kind to oneself and to others. Education plays a vital role here. However, the modern education being imparted utterly lacks the ethical aspect. Therefore, for the last many years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been strongly advocating towards the promotion of human values. Thus, following His Holiness' far-sighted vision towards the creation of peaceful world, many individuals, educational institutes, governments, etc. are taking initial steps towards the implementation of 'Secular Ethics' in schools, colleges and universities in particular, and the whole society at large.
Hence the Department of Education (DoE) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has organized a special audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama for approximately 300 teachers from Tibetan schools in Northern India in May 2017 in Dharamsala. His Holiness guided the Tibetan educators to work on inculcating values in Tibetan children. In the afternoon, DoE facilitated brainstorming session amongst the participants on the implementation of Secular Ethics in Tibetan schools. The DoE also organized a 4-day workshop on Secular Ethics at Centre for Higher Tibetan Studies (CHTS) Sarah in December 2017.
Another 2-day workshop was organized at Sera Jey Secondary School in Bylakuppe which was funded by Delek Children's Foundation. The DoE has also published the SEE (Social, Emotional and Ethical) Learning Framework of Emory University, and it was also translated into Tibetan. Both the versions of the Framework were distributed to all the participants of the workshop on Secular Ethics in Bylakuppe.
The inaugural session:
- The 2-day workshop was exclusively organised for around 250 school heads and teachers of Tibetan schools in Central and Southern India. But the during inaugural session, nearly 200 additional participants from the monastery schools based in Southern India attended to listen to introductory and keynote addresses by CTA President and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- The introductory speech was made by Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the CTA President, who talked about the importance of 'Secular Ethics' as well as gave guidance on its implementation in schools.
- Following that, the keynote address was given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His Holiness kindly graced the workshop with His strong message on the importance of 'Secular Ethics', where He emphasized that the Tibetan schools ought to initiate and excel in educating the minds and must lead or become role model to the rest of the world.
The Team of Trainers and Their Topics:
- Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, former Prime Minister of CTA, talked on 'Importance and Implementation of Secular Ethics in Tibetan schools'.
- Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Ph.D. from Emory University, talked about the SEE Learning Framework
- Geshe Lhakdor, Chairman of the Education Council, DoE and Director of the Tibetan Works and Archives, talked on Mindfulness, Awareness, Love and Compassionn, and techniques to be aware and vigilant, etc.
- Geshe Yeshi Gyaltsen, Lecturer of Secular Ethics at Bangalore based Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education, talked on Justice and Compassion in relation to ethics.
- All the sessions were followed by Question and Answer sessions as well. The Closing Session:
- Abbot Khen Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery was invited as the Chief Guest of the closing session, who gave the concluding remarks of the workshop. As a token of gratitude, Mr. Karma Singey, Secretary of DoE, offered Khata (scarf) to all the trainers and concerned staff of the organising team. The session was finally followed by vote of thanks by Mr. Tsering Samdup, Additional Secretary of DoE.
- His Holiness' emphasis on Tibetan schools becoming role models on educating heart, would strongly encourage Tibetan educators to work harder on this aspect. This has also become very clear to all the Tibetans that the teaching of Secular Ethics in Tibetan schools is one of the far-sighted visions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- The SEE Learning Framework of the Emory University was introduced in the workshop, which would enable the participants to go through it again, and would surely make them to think about it. These educators are expected to adapt the framework according to their own needs.
- One of the most important benefits of this workshop was that, many of the Tibetan teachers' doubts about teaching Secular Ethics in Tibetan schools were cleared. This would certainly enhance the implementation of the Secular Ethics in Tibetan schools.
- The workshop has given several methods in teaching Secular Ethics. In order to have sound teaching of Secular Ethics in the schools, the gained ideas would help the Tibetan educators to think and create more such methods.
Tsering Samdup (Education Council Head)