It has long been a tradition amongst most families that children learn from their parents through family involvement. This is the preferred way of teaching by the Sikh Guru's also, since they encouraged families to share and care for each other. It is far easier to learn when one is ready, and this readiness to learn is expressed by means of questions. Unfortunately, due to the fast and changing life we all lead, there is no time to teach children in a family setting, and sometimes institutions fail to deliver what is needed.
Ramgarhia Sabha Sunday School was started by a handful of visionary teachers, some of who are still involved in the project, to provide education in the field of Punjabi and Sikhism. We should all be given the opportunity to gain knowledge and be proud of what the Sikh Guru Ji's have given us - a Modern religion based on equality.
Sunday School believes in delivering a range of studies aimed at enhancing the education that is not delivered in mainstream schooling. These "Three Pillars" are Punjabi, Sikhism, and Music. I will briefly explain the importance of developing these to fulfil the vision of Ramgarhia Sabha Sunday School:
Learning Punjabi is very important for all since it facilitates access to the vast material in Punjabi, such as the many ovels, historical accounts
, etc. Equally, being able to read Punjabi is important to read the Guru Granth Sahib. Today, we have the concept of direct dealing, whether in business, or social circles. Sikh Guru's also believed in direct contact, and hence they removed the need to have any intermediary between the human being and the Almighty God (or "Waheguru", meaning Wonderful Guru).
Learning Sikhism is very important for many reasons. Guru Nanak Dev
ji, rebelled against rituals or actions, merely believed to get one near to God. Some absurd rituals were thus removed. A human being goes through various stages of life and at some point one poses the question "What is the meaning of human life?" Thus one begins on the first stage of "Dharam khand" as stated in the Japji sahib.
This is a crucial pillar, which provides a complete link between Punjabi and Sikhism. Music has long been regarded as a very important aspect of singing Waheguru Ji's praises. Music is also known to relax and de-stress. Being able to read the Shabad in Punjabi, and trying to understand its meaning (Sikhism), one is able to fully enjoy the pleasure of Kirtan.
A little bit of History
The School itself has been functioning successfully and gaining in importance for many years. Its historical development will need a detailed report in its own right. From its early days a few keen teachers used the rooms in and around the Gurdwara premises on Oswald Road, Southall. As the school roll increased with demand, classes moved to the old Ramgarhia Hall on The Broadway. Unfortunately, the school became homeless when this old building was damaged by fire making it unfit for use. It was at this stage that the hiring of classrooms of a local primary school became necessary. The management committee have continued to support this worthwhile project of educating our youngsters to this present day. A visitor to the school on any Sunday between 11.00 a.m. till 1.00 p.m. will experience the lively, busy nature of at least 300 young people enthusiastic to learn. The student intake ranges from age 5 to 18 and attracts families from a wide catchment
s as far as Wembley, Watford and Croydon.
The Sunday School is supported by the Gurdwara Management Committee, organised by a team of administrators and operates with a staff of twenty professionals (some qualified teachers) and as many assistant teachers who have been students of the system themselves.
The students are always encouraged to participate in many other linked events. For example, many children with their families attend the annual Maharajah Jassa Singh Sports Tournament at Brunel University held every August. The 'fun' games are enjoyed by all - young and old! In November, the children take part in Guru Nanak Gurpurb celebrations. The School organises the printing and presentation of exercise books and gifts for every student. These sponsored by dedicated members of the Sabha.
Previous activities have included the "mela" style exhibition. A dedicated voluntary team of members steered many people from
Some Unique Aspects of Ramgarhia Sabha Sunday School
What sets the School apart from others in the country is the amalgamation of various aspects of the School, such as:
1. All Teachers are voluntary
True "Sewa" or community service is best delivered when there is a desire to assist. All of the Teachers (some a
2. We provide all Three areas of learning
This is important since we provide an education to enhance a students learning.
3. We are now ability based
This is important since a child can only progress if learning is of a standard that provides a degree of challenge.
4.We have a separate class for each year group
This is done so that chidren can make friends in their own year group and encourage each other.
5.We are now a registered examinations centre
This is a unique feature of the school that we can provide our students with a GCSE level qualification in our own school
6. We provide a monthly children
s "Sewak Jatha" programme
The school wishes to maximise its teaching time, and so on the third aturday of every month, a Childrens diwan is held atGurudwara to encourage children to read poems, sing shabads, and take part in the sewa of the Gurudwara. We regard this as a
"Practical lesson" for students of all classes.
The Chairperson of the Education Committee is deeply indebted to all the voluntary teachers, administration staff, the management committee and above all to the parents who entrust their children in our care. This type of dedication and commitment given freely for the benefit of our youngsters must surely be unique to this organisation.