ON THE EDUCATION IN HUMAN VALUES PROGRAMME
SOME COMMENTS ON THE EDUCATION IN HUMAN VALUES PROGRAMME
Education in Human Values (EHV) was made into a cardinal part of the Sai organisation's activities. The Organisation was long regarded as having 'three wings', Spiritual Wing, Service Wing and Educational Wing. It is safe to say this peculiar creature - its extra 'third wing' figuratively beating out of time with the times - has generally failed to take off. A transition from the EHV programme took place around 2000 as it had become a largely impracticable undertaking, since its expected success in Europe and USA failed to materialise. Another programme, partly independent of the Sai Organisation, called 'Educare' has virtually taken over the ideals of the weak EHV agenda (mostly for reasons of pr4sentation to the public and education authorities. Though many courses were held for would-be EHV teachers, the number of actual classes for children - even though offered gratis - never amounted to much. The reasons cannot be documented from any kind of investigation, for the Sai Org. does not carry out profession investigations of any kind.
There was considerably conflict in Europe about how EHV should function, not least in Holland (according tomy old friend, Leo Boogaard, who was President of the Dutch Org. for several years, subsequently very active in trying to reform EHV). Thorbjørn Meyer's autocratic top-down and secretive approach was not popular among those who had any relevant experience and qualifications. Among other contributing causes I would consider
1) the cultish approach to its organisation and control (being attached to an Indian guru did not always help, and less so now that much of what he does is under the glass and is suspect to many people) and...
2) weakness in the actual value system to be partly to blame, as I have discussed at length elsewhere.
An example of my experiences with the EHV programme.
At the Belgian Conference 1987 in Ghent , we were led to believe that there was a lot of EHV teaching in UK. Victor Kanu (since the head of his own college in Zambia) held flaming speeches about it and how every European country MUST have at least one practicing EHV centre within the year. Now, in 2003, the European countries are still far from having one centre each! (Kanu also held a flaming appeal in front of SSB at the Poornachandra Auditorium in Jan 1987 where he attacked in strong terms all those who had not yet opened a centre, but SSB signaled him to stop. He continued and soon Sathya Sai Baba stopped him in the middle of his speech!) He had lots of publicity materials about his own activities - a Sai newspaper he put out with many photos of himself and his wife Genevieve Kanu talking to their or that educator here or there - plus a blown-up conference he and his wife arranged in Ghana with politicians there etc. There was then nothing in Denmark (a fact that they tried to gloss over in various ways, so embarrassing was it, when they were already preaching it). So Reidun and I decided to go to UK and see if we could get involved in EHV work there, perhaps even move back there for that purpose, since the chances of such projects being accepted in Norway were about minus zero (and remain so).
I then visited Victor Kanu's house in Tooting or Wimbledon area and met various other Sai persons in the South London area - attended various satsangs, bhajans, meetings and a conference. The deputy EHV chairman was a young Englishman, Chris, and I got on with him with ease. When he got to know me, he told me that Kanu was making up most of the stuff about EHV teaching - there was only one class in UK by then, run by his wife Genevieve! People in UK were pleasant to Kanu, but he was a bit too unsuitable a person, given to weird ways like whispering in people's ears, imitating Sai Baba mannerisms and, amusingly, lifting people up bodily… which he did to Thorbjorn Meyer, who remained in the standing position like the stiff puppet when gripped around the thighs and hoisted bodily two feet off the ground by the stocky Kanu before the Conference in Ghent.
Only positive statements are published, and serious shortcomings or difficulties, as well as any matters considered 'negative' cannot be properly discussed at meetings held in the Organisation. So one sees how virtually everything in the Organisation urns out, on closer inspection, to be a 'house of cards'. Every country is instructed to produce photographs for such exhibits, and so they do… whether or not the photos are properly backed up by facts. The exhibitions of services done are often over-dimensioned in relation to achievements.