Brampton,Canada: Students listen to teacher Biju Joseph in computer class at Khalsa Community School, a private school in Brampton and one of the Top 10 schools in Peel.
Simran, Sewa, and Sadachar. Respect for God, responsibility, and morality.
This is the motto of the Khalsa Community School, a private religious elementary school that teaches its academics against the backdrop of Sikh believes, culture and practices around disciplined study, religious reflection, self respect and respecting others.
The teaching of these values, says school administrator Ripsodhak Singh Grewal, is what drives the school’s 665 students to maintain high academic standards — right from kindergarten to Grade 8.
“These values are incorporated into their day-to-day instructions,” said Grewal, clad in a suit and traditional Sikh turban. “As students, they have to learn responsibility first of all, how they are going to learn from their own selves … (how) to achieve goals, whatever it is they set their minds on, and continue their efforts.”
The school, which just recently moved from Mississauga to Brampton, made the Fraser Institute’s list of the 10 best performing schools in Mississauga for the 2011-12 school year with a near-perfect score of 9.8 out of 10.
Typical of a private school, a uniform is worn by all of Khalsa’s students: the boys keep their uncut hair wrapped in a traditional knotted Patka and many of the girls wear a headscarf. The head coverings — all blue in colour — are accompanied by white tops and grey slacks.
Parents pay over $5,000 to send a child to the Khalsa school for a year, but are eligible for a progressive set of discounts if they enroll more than one.
“It is our philosophy to teach students to think outside of the box, where they develop their reasoning and logical (thinking),” Grewal said as he watched a Grade 6 class play a game of handball. During a timeout, a boy approaches Grewal, clasps his hands together, and quietly addresses his principal in Punjabi.
Grewal explained this to be a standard Sikh greeting: Khalsa is of the Lord, and victory is of the Lord.
He also insisted that the Khalsa school, named after the term given for when someone has been initiated into the Sikh faith, is different from a typical public school due to its teaching of “diligence and moral values”.