First Hindu school in Britain ready to begin term

September 15th, 2008 - 10:34 am ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 15 (IANS) Students will shortly begin their term at Britain’s first Hindu school - the Krishna Avanti Voluntary Aided Primary School in Edgeware, north London, the area with the largest concentration of Hindus in the country.The ‘bhumi puja’ (ground breaking ceremony) of the school was performed this June. The school will follow the national curriculum, but offer education based on Hindu values. Concepts of inclusivity and equality of all human beings, meditation, yoga and a strict vegetarian diet will reflect some of them.

The first batch has 30 students, who are now housed in a temporary accommodation nearby, while the new school building is completed. The eventual strength will be 240.

Rasamanbla Das of the Oxford Centre of Hindu Studies, who helped with the integration of Hindu values in the school curriculum, told BBC News: “We have tried to enhance the syllabus by looking at what Hinduism can add, such as inclusivity and the equality of all living beings. It recognises the agency of the individual. It’s very much an interactive and experiential approach to education.”

However, organisations such as the Hindu Council and Accord - a secular front of multiple faiths - are sceptical about faith schools, saying there is a danger of such schools eventually focusing on a single faith, turning it into a “religious ghetto”.

However, Bharat Pandya of the Hindu Forum of Britain said the school was the result of a demand from Hindu parents to impart faith education to their children. The school has said it will spend as much time studying other religions as its own.

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