Buddhist Dhamma: Schools And Life Skills

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2nd May 2017 Education Reference this

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INTRODUCTION

1. Life means a continuous process of education from one’s womb to tomb. No mental and spiritual development is assured without education, which make a person civilized and well mannered. All life styles and beliefs of man are based on education. Man is engaged in widening the horizon of knowledge and wisdom from the beginning of his life which is never comes to an end.

“Educating children with warm hearts and clear heads; children who will one day help to create a more compassionate, intelligent and peaceful world.”

His Holiness Dalai Lama.

“The Dharma School is successful in meeting many of its aims. It provides a good quality of education where pupils enjoy coming to school and become confident and self-aware…. It promotes outstanding personal and social development, as well as securing spiritual and moral values.”

Mr. Peter Murdock, Head teacher

Subodhi Dhamma School

Melbourne, Australia

2. Teaching of Dhamma was evolving from Lord Buddha’s time since 2600 years back. After Arahath Maha Mahinda Thero’s induction, Sri Lanka became a Buddhist country and Dhamma education spread all over the country. After being a British colony, the Buddhist education faced a drastically downward in the country. In the later part of 19th century Cornel Henry Steel Olcott introduced the concept of Dhamma School, to make the people aware on the value of their race and religion. It was the inauguration of Dhamma school campaign in Sri Lanka. Thereafter number of patriots and speakers were born through this movement. And it has been expanded all over the country since that [1] .

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3. The vision of Dhamma School is to impart knowledge of Buddhism to the Buddhist younger generation and to enrich them with native cultural values of their Buddhist Sinhalese motherland. The knowledge, children obtained from Dhamma School, lead them to enjoy a good life, and make them well mannered sons and daughters to their parents and to society, finally constructive citizens to the country. Dhamma School put up the foundation to practice Dhamma in children’s daily routine and guide them to protect the pride of motherland, to value the language, culture, native customs and the traditions inherited from ancestors.

4. Education is for both individual development and social development. It is further meant for personality development, character or moral development, benefit of man and for his sensual pleasure. Both these two major goals of education were considered in Buddhist system of teaching as one component, but a special emphasis and attention has been paid into one’s individual and personality development, because perfection of knowledge can be attained only by the mind.

5. With In the Dhamma schools, children encourage to learn skills and express their understanding according to their readiness, science their primary stage. The different ways of teaching methods utilize for teaching for better result. Most of the time topic based approaches are taken by ‘Bosath Charithaya’ and develop the comradeship according to the teacher’s strengths and the children’s interests. However today student based education system has been introduced to dhamma schools instead of teacher based system .And it has been lead student for creative opportunities and factual learning is enhanced by drama, story writing, poetry, music, discussions, social activities and a wide range of artistic and hands on activities [2] .

6. The research is mainly designed to study and submit a proof that the students can develop their life skills from Dhamma schools rather than other education institute. The data were collected from samples studying, conducting several interviews and relevant printed materials. The data were analyzed and adduced by graphs and various charts for easy understanding. Finally certain points were highlighted and recommended to uplift the Dhamma school system.

CHAPTER II

METHODOLOGY

AIM

1. The aim of this research is to analyze whether the Buddhist Dhamma Schools have the ability to develop the life skills of students through its education system or not.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

2. In this competitive e-world school education is basically prioritized in developing academics of pupils’ and pay attention to improve sports activities and few extra curricular activities as well. This situation has resulted a drastically decline of life skills of students’ since the recent past .However Buddhist Dhamma schools are playing a key role to overcome this matter today.

THE RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

3. The education system of Buddhist Dhamma schools can play a major role to improve the life skills of students’ since their childhood.

CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK

Development of Life skills of Student

Education system of Dhamma School

(Independent Variable) (Dependent Variable)

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

4. Today, the general education system has got more commercialized and has become competitive due to various reasons. Hence ordinary schools have high capacity of students rather than Dhamma schools. Therefore, limited students may get the chance to enhance their skill levels to a better position, but majority was unable to reach that level due to lack of their participation.

5. However the Dhamma school education system is totally different from ordinary school education system because it is mainly structured to give Dhamma education and provide more opportunities to enhance the factual learning on facts of Dhamma, story writing, poetry, music, debates, public speaking and a wide range of artistic and hands on activities.

6. The research mainly focuses about the Buddhist education system in the country and, how it helps students to develop their own skills/aptitudes. As such it has become a measurement to gauge the importance of Dhamma School education. However, Dhamma Schools have to face some unfortunate situation due to the bad effects on education commercialization. Therefore, large numbers of tutories are operating on Sundays. Several opinions were submitted as recommendation to over come the bad effect and to consistent future prospect of Dhamma Schools as well.

METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION

7. The data is collected from sample studying and referring to relevant books, documents etc. Therefore the data was categorized basically into two parts.

a. Primary Data.

The primary data has been collected from schooling students, teachers, public and private sector officers and parents. A questionnaire has given to the students to collect data and other adults were interviewed to obtain data. Finally, the collected data were presented as tables, pie charts and bar charts for easy assimilation and understanding.

b. Secondary Data.

The secondary data were collected from relevant Buddhist publications, documents volumes and referring web sites. Several statistic data were obtained from respective authorities and Dhamma Schools as well.

LIMITATIONS

8. While carry out the research following assumptions were made and difficulties occurred.

a. Hundred Students were selected from Colombo, Gampaha, Kaluthara, Kurunegala, Kandy, Galle and Puttlam district as the cross section. An assumption were made that they represent the whole Buddhist students in Sri Lanka.

b. It was assumed that the answers given by the members of the sample are 100% correct.

c. It was assumed that all the Dhamma school students have same capabilities like sample’s students.

d. Some responsible authorities were rejected to answer some questions with regard to Dhamma schools.

e. Lack of printed materials on Dhamma Schools was made more difficulties to create reasonable recommendations regarding the future of Dhamma Schools.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS

9. The book is structured as follows:

a. CHAPTER I Introduction

b. CHAPTER II Methodology

c. CHAPTER III Over view of Dhamma schools education

d. CHAPTER IV Data collection

e. CHAPTER V Data analysis

f. CHAPTER VI Conclusion

g. CHAPTER VII Recommendations

CHAPTER III

OVER VIEW OF DHAMMA SCHOOL EDUCATION

THE BACK GROUND OF BUDDHIST EDUCATION

1. About 2550 years ago, that was about six hundred years before the Christ a number of great thinkers, religious leaders of both eastern and western countries put forward different views against the existing evil conditions with the hope of offering a better future for the people of their countries. They tried to introduce better ways of living.

2. The Lord Buddha became one of the most prominent teachers in India. The Buddhist texts give us detailed descriptions of the Lord Buddha’s teaching. The teaching could be described as a broad based system of education and, the concept of education covers a very broad field. According to him, mind is the fore runner of all actions. The Lord Buddha has given a very significant place to the mind in education. He perched that the whole man will be activated as per his/her mind set [3] .

3. The Lord Buddha was the greatest teacher who carried out his mission for 45 years and was popularly known as ‘Teacher of the Men and Gods’.

HISTORY OF DHAMMA SCHOOL – BEGINNING AND EXPANSION

4. After introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Arahath Maha Mahinda Thero in 236 BC, it has caused a greater change of social and cultural back ground in Sri Lanka. In the same way the education system got changed according to the Buddhist Doctrine. Mahinda

Thero put the base stone to begin Maha Viharaya at Anuradapura. It was the first school in Sri Lanka according to Mahavansa. Later on Buddha Sasanaya expanded all over the country. Simultaneously Buddhist education was established based on temples.

5. In 16th centaury Sri Lanka have under gone several foreign dominations that started to collapse the Buddha Sasanaya as well as the Buddhist education system in the country. But at that era ‘Walivita Sri Saranankara Snagaraja Thero rose up strongly against the foreign Administrators and played enormous role to protect the Buddha Sasanaya. In 1815 Sri Lanka became a colony of British. Later English rulers introduced their catholic education system instead of Buddhist education all over the country and less priority was rendered to Buddhist education. Then the religious and historical ties were broken at temples among Bhikkus and Buddhist public. People tend to change their religion on be half of their personnel benefits. This was the pre signal of a calamity on Buddhist Education [4] .

6. This has observed by several Buddhist monks and civil individuals and they rose up against the British Empire. They started an awareness campaign for Sinhala Buddhists around the country. At that era Wariyapola Sri Sumangala Thero hold a Debate coded ‘Pnadura Wadaya’ against British rule. It was famous around the world. As a result of that an American Colonel named Henry Steel Olcott came to Sri Lanka and dawn a new resuscitate to ‘Buddha Sasanaya’ and Buddhist education. He laid the base stone to begin Sinhala Buddhist Schools around the country. As a result of that Anada and Nalanda Colleges at Colombo, Darmaraja College at Kandy and Mahinda College at Galle were established.

7. Further he had a thought to commence a separate school on Sundays mainly focusing attention on teaching Buddhism.

“One more important thing has come to me, the children of Buddhist should be taught their religion regularly on special days, at specified hours at every temple in the island. How can we expect them to grow up strong? Buddhists of them are not taught the element of their parents’ religion in their childhood when Christians do not neglect their children, why should Buddhists neglect them”

Colonel Henry Steel Olcott.

8. The first Dhamma School was started in 1881 based on Colombo but, after few days it was inactivated due to lack of teachers. However on 3rd August in 1895 it was able to establish a fully pledged Dhamma School at Galle in accordance with the concept of Colonel Olcott. ‘Waliwathe Vijayananda Dhamma’ School became the first Dhamma School in Sri Lanka. In latter part of 19th and early part of 20th centauries Dhamma school system got expanded all over the country in a large scale due to Buddhist renaissance had at that time [5] .

9. Young Men Buddhist Association (YMBA) handled the administrative part of Dhamma Schools since it began. After the cultural department established in 1956, Dhamma Schools were legalised and systemized. The registration of Dhamma Schools was started and free distribution of printed books among children was commenced. In 1881, Buddhist affairs department was established and took the control of Dhamma Schools under it. A major role was done to uplift the Dhamma School Standards. Presently, amount of 9211 Dhamma schools are operating under this department and 18, 25,663 students and 1, 14,308 teachers are engaged in learning and teaching as well [6] .

OBJECTIVES AND EXPECTED SKILLS OF DHAMMA SCHOOL EDUCATION

10. The main objective of Dhamma School education is to make the future generation, filled with good qualities, and to enrich them with better understanding of themselves as well as their surroundings based on Buddhism.

11. Skill Base Education. Today the general education system is based on skills. National Education Commission has introduced Five Skills [7] . They are;

a. Communication Skills.

Skills relevant to the Environment.

c. Skills relevant to Principles and Religion.

d. Sports and Leisure Skills.

e. Skills of Learning to Learn.

12. These skills also relevant to Dhamma School education as well. Skill is a complex combination of knowledge, attitudes and activities. These three parts can be combined in different percentages with regard to each individual. But there should be a practical method to combine these three parts together in a successful manner.

13. There are some identified general skills which were developed through, Dhamma School education syllabus [8] . They are;

a. Identify the value of Dhamma School education and devoted to the triple gem.

b. Imitate the Lord Buddha’s character and other great Buddhist characters.

c. Respect Monks, Parents and Teachers by observing ‘Pan Sil’.

d. Build the personality with pure knowledge of Dhamma and lead the life for self betterment and for the benefits of society.

e. Always keen on physical and mental health and make the leisure productive.

ROLE OF DHAMMA SCHOOL TEACHER

14. Role of Teacher. The total role of a Dhamma school teachers have been divided in to several sections [9] .

a. The process in connection with Learning and Teaching.

b. The Process in connection with the entire Dhamma School.

c. The process in connection with the community in the located area of the Dhamma School.

d. The process in connection with the development of the profession and the personality.

15. Teacher should understand the child. It is required to understand on the physical, mental, emotional and social development nature of the students of difference age groups in the Dhamma School. For this, it is required to study about the child development process. The child development stages can be roughly categorized as follows [10] ;

a. Initial childhood stage – From birth to ages up to 05 or 08 years

b. Childhood stage- Ages 7-8 up to 10 – 11

c. Pre-adulterant stage and adulterant stage – Ages from 11 to15 and 15 to 18.

16. Important thing to be aware before teaching.

a. The Dhamma Schools’ children are in a position with the ability of think and argue in a unique style but they are not adult students.

b. It should try to understand the abilities that children possess to develop as skillful persons in the future.

c. The left side of the brain possesses the ability of analyzing, imagining and creativeness. The right side of the brain facilitates to create emotions, build-up attitudes and free actions. According to that, teacher should arrange his/her teaching methods to develop the both sides of the brain. And it will effect develop the personalities of each individuals separately [11] .

d. The teacher should encourage student in honestly and heartedly in view of improve the child education.

POLITICIANS VIEW OF DHAMMA SCHOOL

“Time to time being a colony under several foreign dictatorships, Sri Lanka was embraced by Missionary education and it was very unlucky to victim the diminish of Buddhist education institutions in those periods. With the beginning of Dhamma School education system 110 years ago, again the Buddhist education got the second life.

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From that day upto today the light sparked out from Dhamma school education to build a disciplined and well mannered generation, is immeasurable. It should appreciate, organizing competitions to upgrade students’ skills, and I believe that, it helps widely in students’ future benefits. My sincere gratitude goes to the people who contribute in this process in success.

I wish, May Sri Lanka be a country filled with best qualities through Dhamma school education”.

His Excellency the President, Mahinda Rajapaksha

Complimentary message for ‘Daham Ama’ magazine – February 2006.

“Mahindagamanaya, the arrival of Arahath Maha Mahinda Thero, donated many to Sri Lankans. The Buddhist education system built in the country was foundational by ‘Mahindagamanaya’. The social improvement created through the temple centred Buddhist education system was enormous.

Dhamma School education system, started 110 years ago is in a great level today by generating a well mannered future generation. It is appreciated the service providing by Dhamma Schools to make this society a pious and righteous society.

Furthermore I admire the competitions organized through Dhamma schools in country level to improve the skills of students. And I wish to see a generation that loves the motherland enriched with good qualities as the outcome of this merit movement”.

Thissa Karaliyadda

Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs

Complimentary message for ‘Daham Ama’ magazine – February 2006.

CHAPTER IV

DATA COLLECTION

GENERAL

1. The data was collected from school students, parents, teachers and relevant personnel, who positively engage with the Buddhist education field. These selected adults were interviewed to get primary data. Records of statistics and written documents were collected from Dhamma schools and relevant authorities in this field as secondary data.

PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION- DETAILS OF INTERVIEWS

2. Venerable Godapitiye Indanada, Chief Incumbent of Bosevana temple and the principal of Sri Sugathnanda Dhamma School stated that basically the Dhamma school education is focused on teaching Buddhism to students and eventually develop their spiritual activities and moral values. According to the syllabus, it is another mandatory requirement to improve students’ life skills by various curricular activities. At the initial stage we will identified the children’s skills. Later on gradually develops these skills to a higher level. The end result will be a good citizen to the country. This process has adapted to all students in Dhamma Schools since their primary stage.

3. Mr. Jayasundara Perera, Senior Project Officer, Department of Buddhist Affairs stated that he is responsible to maintain statistics about the Buddhist Dhamma Schools in island wide. Further he added that several new programmes were introduced recently based on skill development of students. Inter Dhamma School competitions were restructured with new technology. Trainers’ training work shops were introduced and conducting in Division vice to impart knowledge of Dhamma School teachers. During the last five years numbers of the Dhamma schools and the students were increased dramatically. Finally he told that the reputation of Dhamma schools have been increased due to it present programme.

4. Ms. Enoka Rajapaksha, Teacher, Sri Vajira Ghana Dhamma School, Colombo 4, stated that she is serving in Dhamma school science year 2000 as a teacher. And it’s a very enthusiastic and self satisfactory job. Today the education field has become more sophisticated. Therefore students become more technical and dynamic. But in our case we have a grater challenge to convert these pupils to socialized persons. For that we have to teach them about Buddhism and the mean while it is important to develop their skill to build their personality. Further we provide opportunities to students to engage with social activities with their wishes and ideas. The ultimate result is they will be exposed to society, gain leadership qualities, practical knowledge on decision making in their level and avert on stage fear. Therefore positive changes may happen to students’ skills and their thinking pattern.

5. Mrs. Chandrika Munaweera, a Mother of three children, resides at Kelaniya, states that she has also been under gone the Dhamma school education in her childhood and it directly effect to build her life well. Further she added that, Dhamma School education has given chances her to expose the outer world. Therefore she has been admitted her children to a Dhamma School since their primary stage.

6. Mr. Mohan Silva, Sub Inspector, Officer-In-Charge Raddolugama Police Station stated that During his 14 years of service, he has investigated lot of civil cases and incidents. Among them, majority were happened due to their irrespective behaviours. This has shown a decline of values, norms, right and rituals. He said that there should be a certain place to educate them in this regard .Finally proposed that the Dhamma School is one of the best place to educate them to over come this menace and it will help younger generation to prevent from violence in future.

7. Mr. Sugeesh Nanayakkara, Senior Manager, Ceylon Cold Stores, stated that He has undergone Dhamma education since his childhood and it has guided him to be a virtuous person in the society. He begins his carrier in junior executive level before 7 years. But the Important factor is he able to obtain the present appointment within a shorter period of his carrier due to skills he has obtained from his Dhamma School.

DATA COLLECTED FROM QUESTIONNAIRE

8. A cross section of 100 school students were selected from Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kurunegala, Puttlam and Galle districts. A questionnaire was given to the Cross section in order to get data. These students are undergoing academics in grade 6 to 10. During this data collecting process it has observed that some students were reluctant to answer the questionnaire and some did it in wilful manner. All the answers were given in their own wishes without any interference of other party. The sums of answers were tabulated in table 1 (Annex ‘A’).

SECONDARY DATA

9. Numbers of ten Dhamma schools were selected to get statistic data to evaluate the skills of students. These Dhamma Schools were selected from same district where the cross section was selected. The data has shown the numerical of students’ participation for completions on Dhamma school level during the last five years. It shows the growth rate of Students’ performance. The data were tabulated in figure 1 to 5 (Annex B).

10. The whole Island wide Dhamma schools students’ performances records are maintained by Department of Buddhist Affairs [12] .The whole island competitions are conducted by the same department with the assistance of YMBA. These competitions are conducted annually to evaluate the students’ performance level. Last five years statistics of students’ participation for whole Island competitions are tabulated in figure 6 (Annex C).

CHAPTER V

DATA ANALYSIS

ANALYSIS OF DATA RECORDED IN INTERVIEWS

1. These data were collected from adults’ personnel who positively engage with Dhamma School education system and officers of government and private sector. 80% of them accept that Dhamma School has the ability to develop the skills of students. However it was highlighted that during the recent past the existing numbers of Dhamma Schools were increased remarkably and the students’ population has increased significantly. The details are tabulated in figure 7 (Annex ‘D’).

Chart – 1 Growth of Dhamma Schools

Chart – 2 Growths of Dhamma Schools’ Students

ANALYSIS OF DATA ON QUESTIONNAIRE

2. Numbers of fourteen questions were forwarded to the cross section as a questionnaire. The answers were categorised to five parts and analyzed as follows;

3. Selection of Cross Section. Students were selected to the cross-section from Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Galle, Kurunegala and Puttlam districts. The numbers are mentioned in table 1 (Annex ‘E’). The highest percentage of 40% is represented in Colombo district and other districts are represented equally 10%. A large segment has given to Colombo district due to its Dhamma Schools and Student population capacity is higher than other districts.

Chart – 3 Growths of Dhamma Schools’ Students

4. Students from grade 6 to 10 were answered the questionnaire. More than 70% of 6 to 8 grades students willingly make answers but the rest of others from 9 to 10 grades were reluctant to answer the same. Sometimes they rejected to answer the questionnaire. The numbers of students of different grades are mentioned in table 2 (Annex ‘E’).However in this cross section 80% of students were positively undergoing the Dhamma School education But the rest of 20% have not gone through the Dhamma School Education yet.

Chart – 4 Attendances of Dhamma Schools

5. Willingness for Dhamma Education. In the segment of students who were undergoing Dhamma School Education, 42% were admitted to Dhamma School on their own will, 32% were admitted due to their parents’ choice. Another 26% entered due to their friends request and none of students were entered due to other reason. The numbers of students are mentioned in table 3 (Annex ‘E’).

Chart – 5 Reasons for Dhamma School admission

6. Skill Development. In this sample 32% of students have born skills and talents. The rest of 68% have not that kind of skills or talents. Both parties needed to improve their skills. The teacher’s role is very important in the skill development process. They should carefully trace the student abilities and indentify the skills what they have. Then teacher has to support the particular student to develop his/her skill/s. However 83% agreed that they got the support from their teachers but 17% were disagreed for that. 87% of students mentioned that they have no chances to develop skills in their School. But the rest of 13% were mentioned that they will get chances to develop their skills in their school. But 92% of Dhamma school students mentioned that they will get chances to develop their skills in Dhamma School. More than 90% were mentioned that they were already been developed any kind of skill/s from Dhamma Schools. The numbers are tabulated in table 4 (Annex ‘E’).

Chart – 6 Skill developments of Dhamma School students

7. Competition Attendance. Comparatively a high amount of competitions conduct annually and half yearly in Dhamma School education system rather than day to day school. These completions are already been categorised for certain levels and conduct by several Authorities. Classroom level and School level competitions conduct by the particular Dhamma School. Inter school level, provincial level and all island level competitions conduct by YMBA or Department of Buddhist Affairs. Therefore student can carry their own skills and talent from class room level to whole island level. It will motivate the students to improve their skills according to the competition level. The details of students’ attendance for these competitions are tabulated in table 5 and 6 (Annex ‘E’).

Chart – 7 Competition Attendances

Chart – 8 Levels of Competition

8. Opinion on Dhamma School. In the Globalization process students should have to expose the outer world to obtain knowledge. The Dhamma Schools play a vital role to educate the younger generation. In that process good thoughts and skills create in their minds to take the future challenges. In this cross section 70% of students were out of stage fear. It gives a positive answer to the society. 85% of students have the practical experience in Social activities. It will lead the country for a brighter future. At the end 75% of students said that the Dhamma school education is good and the rest of 25% said it was fair (Table 7 – Annex ‘E’). Finally all the sample members agreed that the Dhamma schools make a qualitative change in their lives with skills and values.

Chart – 9 Opinions of Dhamma School

SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS

9. The data which are tabulated in figure 1 to 5 (Annex ‘B’) clearly illustrate, during the last five years there was a significant growth of students’ skill levels. This growth has recorded in all parts of debating, sin

INTRODUCTION

1. Life means a continuous process of education from one’s womb to tomb. No mental and spiritual development is assured without education, which make a person civilized and well mannered. All life styles and beliefs of man are based on education. Man is engaged in widening the horizon of knowledge and wisdom from the beginning of his life which is never comes to an end.

“Educating children with warm hearts and clear heads; children who will one day help to create a more compassionate, intelligent and peaceful world.”

His Holiness Dalai Lama.

“The Dharma School is successful in meeting many of its aims. It provides a good quality of education where pupils enjoy coming to school and become confident and self-aware…. It promotes outstanding personal and social development, as well as securing spiritual and moral values.”

Mr. Peter Murdock, Head teacher

Subodhi Dhamma School

Melbourne, Australia

2. Teaching of Dhamma was evolving from Lord Buddha’s time since 2600 years back. After Arahath Maha Mahinda Thero’s induction, Sri Lanka became a Buddhist country and Dhamma education spread all over the country. After being a British colony, the Buddhist education faced a drastically downward in the country. In the later part of 19th century Cornel Henry Steel Olcott introduced the concept of Dhamma School, to make the people aware on the value of their race and religion. It was the inauguration of Dhamma school campaign in Sri Lanka. Thereafter number of patriots and speakers were born through this movement. And it has been expanded all over the country since that [1] .

3. The vision of Dhamma School is to impart knowledge of Buddhism to the Buddhist younger generation and to enrich them with native cultural values of their Buddhist Sinhalese motherland. The knowledge, children obtained from Dhamma School, lead them to enjoy a good life, and make them well mannered sons and daughters to their parents and to society, finally constructive citizens to the country. Dhamma School put up the foundation to practice Dhamma in children’s daily routine and guide them to protect the pride of motherland, to value the language, culture, native customs and the traditions inherited from ancestors.

4. Education is for both individual development and social development. It is further meant for personality development, character or moral development, benefit of man and for his sensual pleasure. Both these two major goals of education were considered in Buddhist system of teaching as one component, but a special emphasis and attention has been paid into one’s individual and personality development, because perfection of knowledge can be attained only by the mind.

5. With In the Dhamma schools, children encourage to learn skills and express their understanding according to their readiness, science their primary stage. The different ways of teaching methods utilize for teaching for better result. Most of the time topic based approaches are taken by ‘Bosath Charithaya’ and develop the comradeship according to the teacher’s strengths and the children’s interests. However today student based education system has been introduced to dhamma schools instead of teacher based system .And it has been lead student for creative opportunities and factual learning is enhanced by drama, story writing, poetry, music, discussions, social activities and a wide range of artistic and hands on activities [2] .

6. The research is mainly designed to study and submit a proof that the students can develop their life skills from Dhamma schools rather than other education institute. The data were collected from samples studying, conducting several interviews and relevant printed materials. The data were analyzed and adduced by graphs and various charts for easy understanding. Finally certain points were highlighted and recommended to uplift the Dhamma school system.

CHAPTER II

METHODOLOGY

AIM

1. The aim of this research is to analyze whether the Buddhist Dhamma Schools have the ability to develop the life skills of students through its education system or not.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

2. In this competitive e-world school education is basically prioritized in developing academics of pupils’ and pay attention to improve sports activities and few extra curricular activities as well. This situation has resulted a drastically decline of life skills of students’ since the recent past .However Buddhist Dhamma schools are playing a key role to overcome this matter today.

THE RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

3. The education system of Buddhist Dhamma schools can play a major role to improve the life skills of students’ since their childhood.

CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK

Development of Life skills of Student

Education system of Dhamma School

(Independent Variable) (Dependent Variable)

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

4. Today, the general education system has got more commercialized and has become competitive due to various reasons. Hence ordinary schools have high capacity of students rather than Dhamma schools. Therefore, limited students may get the chance to enhance their skill levels to a better position, but majority was unable to reach that level due to lack of their participation.

5. However the Dhamma school education system is totally different from ordinary school education system because it is mainly structured to give Dhamma education and provide more opportunities to enhance the factual learning on facts of Dhamma, story writing, poetry, music, debates, public speaking and a wide range of artistic and hands on activities.

6. The research mainly focuses about the Buddhist education system in the country and, how it helps students to develop their own skills/aptitudes. As such it has become a measurement to gauge the importance of Dhamma School education. However, Dhamma Schools have to face some unfortunate situation due to the bad effects on education commercialization. Therefore, large numbers of tutories are operating on Sundays. Several opinions were submitted as recommendation to over come the bad effect and to consistent future prospect of Dhamma Schools as well.

METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION

7. The data is collected from sample studying and referring to relevant books, documents etc. Therefore the data was categorized basically into two parts.

a. Primary Data.

The primary data has been collected from schooling students, teachers, public and private sector officers and parents. A questionnaire has given to the students to collect data and other adults were interviewed to obtain data. Finally, the collected data were presented as tables, pie charts and bar charts for easy assimilation and understanding.

b. Secondary Data.

The secondary data were collected from relevant Buddhist publications, documents volumes and referring web sites. Several statistic data were obtained from respective authorities and Dhamma Schools as well.

LIMITATIONS

8. While carry out the research following assumptions were made and difficulties occurred.

a. Hundred Students were selected from Colombo, Gampaha, Kaluthara, Kurunegala, Kandy, Galle and Puttlam district as the cross section. An assumption were made that they represent the whole Buddhist students in Sri Lanka.

b. It was assumed that the answers given by the members of the sample are 100% correct.

c. It was assumed that all the Dhamma school students have same capabilities like sample’s students.

d. Some responsible authorities were rejected to answer some questions with regard to Dhamma schools.

e. Lack of printed materials on Dhamma Schools was made more difficulties to create reasonable recommendations regarding the future of Dhamma Schools.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS

9. The book is structured as follows:

a. CHAPTER I Introduction

b. CHAPTER II Methodology

c. CHAPTER III Over view of Dhamma schools education

d. CHAPTER IV Data collection

e. CHAPTER V Data analysis

f. CHAPTER VI Conclusion

g. CHAPTER VII Recommendations

CHAPTER III

OVER VIEW OF DHAMMA SCHOOL EDUCATION

THE BACK GROUND OF BUDDHIST EDUCATION

1. About 2550 years ago, that was about six hundred years before the Christ a number of great thinkers, religious leaders of both eastern and western countries put forward different views against the existing evil conditions with the hope of offering a better future for the people of their countries. They tried to introduce better ways of living.

2. The Lord Buddha became one of the most prominent teachers in India. The Buddhist texts give us detailed descriptions of the Lord Buddha’s teaching. The teaching could be described as a broad based system of education and, the concept of education covers a very broad field. According to him, mind is the fore runner of all actions. The Lord Buddha has given a very significant place to the mind in education. He perched that the whole man will be activated as per his/her mind set [3] .

3. The Lord Buddha was the greatest teacher who carried out his mission for 45 years and was popularly known as ‘Teacher of the Men and Gods’.

HISTORY OF DHAMMA SCHOOL – BEGINNING AND EXPANSION

4. After introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Arahath Maha Mahinda Thero in 236 BC, it has caused a greater change of social and cultural back ground in Sri Lanka. In the same way the education system got changed according to the Buddhist Doctrine. Mahinda

Thero put the base stone to begin Maha Viharaya at Anuradapura. It was the first school in Sri Lanka according to Mahavansa. Later on Buddha Sasanaya expanded all over the country. Simultaneously Buddhist education was established based on temples.

5. In 16th centaury Sri Lanka have under gone several foreign dominations that started to collapse the Buddha Sasanaya as well as the Buddhist education system in the country. But at that era ‘Walivita Sri Saranankara Snagaraja Thero rose up strongly against the foreign Administrators and played enormous role to protect the Buddha Sasanaya. In 1815 Sri Lanka became a colony of British. Later English rulers introduced their catholic education system instead of Buddhist education all over the country and less priority was rendered to Buddhist education. Then the religious and historical ties were broken at temples among Bhikkus and Buddhist public. People tend to change their religion on be half of their personnel benefits. This was the pre signal of a calamity on Buddhist Education [4] .

6. This has observed by several Buddhist monks and civil individuals and they rose up against the British Empire. They started an awareness campaign for Sinhala Buddhists around the country. At that era Wariyapola Sri Sumangala Thero hold a Debate coded ‘Pnadura Wadaya’ against British rule. It was famous around the world. As a result of that an American Colonel named Henry Steel Olcott came to Sri Lanka and dawn a new resuscitate to ‘Buddha Sasanaya’ and Buddhist education. He laid the base stone to begin Sinhala Buddhist Schools around the country. As a result of that Anada and Nalanda Colleges at Colombo, Darmaraja College at Kandy and Mahinda College at Galle were established.

7. Further he had a thought to commence a separate school on Sundays mainly focusing attention on teaching Buddhism.

“One more important thing has come to me, the children of Buddhist should be taught their religion regularly on special days, at specified hours at every temple in the island. How can we expect them to grow up strong? Buddhists of them are not taught the element of their parents’ religion in their childhood when Christians do not neglect their children, why should Buddhists neglect them”

Colonel Henry Steel Olcott.

8. The first Dhamma School was started in 1881 based on Colombo but, after few days it was inactivated due to lack of teachers. However on 3rd August in 1895 it was able to establish a fully pledged Dhamma School at Galle in accordance with the concept of Colonel Olcott. ‘Waliwathe Vijayananda Dhamma’ School became the first Dhamma School in Sri Lanka. In latter part of 19th and early part of 20th centauries Dhamma school system got expanded all over the country in a large scale due to Buddhist renaissance had at that time [5] .

9. Young Men Buddhist Association (YMBA) handled the administrative part of Dhamma Schools since it began. After the cultural department established in 1956, Dhamma Schools were legalised and systemized. The registration of Dhamma Schools was started and free distribution of printed books among children was commenced. In 1881, Buddhist affairs department was established and took the control of Dhamma Schools under it. A major role was done to uplift the Dhamma School Standards. Presently, amount of 9211 Dhamma schools are operating under this department and 18, 25,663 students and 1, 14,308 teachers are engaged in learning and teaching as well [6] .

OBJECTIVES AND EXPECTED SKILLS OF DHAMMA SCHOOL EDUCATION

10. The main objective of Dhamma School education is to make the future generation, filled with good qualities, and to enrich them with better understanding of themselves as well as their surroundings based on Buddhism.

11. Skill Base Education. Today the general education system is based on skills. National Education Commission has introduced Five Skills [7] . They are;

a. Communication Skills.

Skills relevant to the Environment.

c. Skills relevant to Principles and Religion.

d. Sports and Leisure Skills.

e. Skills of Learning to Learn.

12. These skills also relevant to Dhamma School education as well. Skill is a complex combination of knowledge, attitudes and activities. These three parts can be combined in different percentages with regard to each individual. But there should be a practical method to combine these three parts together in a successful manner.

13. There are some identified general skills which were developed through, Dhamma School education syllabus [8] . They are;

a. Identify the value of Dhamma School education and devoted to the triple gem.

b. Imitate the Lord Buddha’s character and other great Buddhist characters.

c. Respect Monks, Parents and Teachers by observing ‘Pan Sil’.

d. Build the personality with pure knowledge of Dhamma and lead the life for self betterment and for the benefits of society.

e. Always keen on physical and mental health and make the leisure productive.

ROLE OF DHAMMA SCHOOL TEACHER

14. Role of Teacher. The total role of a Dhamma school teachers have been divided in to several sections [9] .

a. The process in connection with Learning and Teaching.

b. The Process in connection with the entire Dhamma School.

c. The process in connection with the community in the located area of the Dhamma School.

d. The process in connection with the development of the profession and the personality.

15. Teacher should understand the child. It is required to understand on the physical, mental, emotional and social development nature of the students of difference age groups in the Dhamma School. For this, it is required to study about the child development process. The child development stages can be roughly categorized as follows [10] ;

a. Initial childhood stage – From birth to ages up to 05 or 08 years

b. Childhood stage- Ages 7-8 up to 10 – 11

c. Pre-adulterant stage and adulterant stage – Ages from 11 to15 and 15 to 18.

16. Important thing to be aware before teaching.

a. The Dhamma Schools’ children are in a position with the ability of think and argue in a unique style but they are not adult students.

b. It should try to understand the abilities that children possess to develop as skillful persons in the future.

c. The left side of the brain possesses the ability of analyzing, imagining and creativeness. The right side of the brain facilitates to create emotions, build-up attitudes and free actions. According to that, teacher should arrange his/her teaching methods to develop the both sides of the brain. And it will effect develop the personalities of each individuals separately [11] .

d. The teacher should encourage student in honestly and heartedly in view of improve the child education.

POLITICIANS VIEW OF DHAMMA SCHOOL

“Time to time being a colony under several foreign dictatorships, Sri Lanka was embraced by Missionary education and it was very unlucky to victim the diminish of Buddhist education institutions in those periods. With the beginning of Dhamma School education system 110 years ago, again the Buddhist education got the second life.

From that day upto today the light sparked out from Dhamma school education to build a disciplined and well mannered generation, is immeasurable. It should appreciate, organizing competitions to upgrade students’ skills, and I believe that, it helps widely in students’ future benefits. My sincere gratitude goes to the people who contribute in this process in success.

I wish, May Sri Lanka be a country filled with best qualities through Dhamma school education”.

His Excellency the President, Mahinda Rajapaksha

Complimentary message for ‘Daham Ama’ magazine – February 2006.

“Mahindagamanaya, the arrival of Arahath Maha Mahinda Thero, donated many to Sri Lankans. The Buddhist education system built in the country was foundational by ‘Mahindagamanaya’. The social improvement created through the temple centred Buddhist education system was enormous.

Dhamma School education system, started 110 years ago is in a great level today by generating a well mannered future generation. It is appreciated the service providing by Dhamma Schools to make this society a pious and righteous society.

Furthermore I admire the competitions organized through Dhamma schools in country level to improve the skills of students. And I wish to see a generation that loves the motherland enriched with good qualities as the outcome of this merit movement”.

Thissa Karaliyadda

Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs

Complimentary message for ‘Daham Ama’ magazine – February 2006.

CHAPTER IV

DATA COLLECTION

GENERAL

1. The data was collected from school students, parents, teachers and relevant personnel, who positively engage with the Buddhist education field. These selected adults were interviewed to get primary data. Records of statistics and written documents were collected from Dhamma schools and relevant authorities in this field as secondary data.

PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION- DETAILS OF INTERVIEWS

2. Venerable Godapitiye Indanada, Chief Incumbent of Bosevana temple and the principal of Sri Sugathnanda Dhamma School stated that basically the Dhamma school education is focused on teaching Buddhism to students and eventually develop their spiritual activities and moral values. According to the syllabus, it is another mandatory requirement to improve students’ life skills by various curricular activities. At the initial stage we will identified the children’s skills. Later on gradually develops these skills to a higher level. The end result will be a good citizen to the country. This process has adapted to all students in Dhamma Schools since their primary stage.

3. Mr. Jayasundara Perera, Senior Project Officer, Department of Buddhist Affairs stated that he is responsible to maintain statistics about the Buddhist Dhamma Schools in island wide. Further he added that several new programmes were introduced recently based on skill development of students. Inter Dhamma School competitions were restructured with new technology. Trainers’ training work shops were introduced and conducting in Division vice to impart knowledge of Dhamma School teachers. During the last five years numbers of the Dhamma schools and the students were increased dramatically. Finally he told that the reputation of Dhamma schools have been increased due to it present programme.

4. Ms. Enoka Rajapaksha, Teacher, Sri Vajira Ghana Dhamma School, Colombo 4, stated that she is serving in Dhamma school science year 2000 as a teacher. And it’s a very enthusiastic and self satisfactory job. Today the education field has become more sophisticated. Therefore students become more technical and dynamic. But in our case we have a grater challenge to convert these pupils to socialized persons. For that we have to teach them about Buddhism and the mean while it is important to develop their skill to build their personality. Further we provide opportunities to students to engage with social activities with their wishes and ideas. The ultimate result is they will be exposed to society, gain leadership qualities, practical knowledge on decision making in their level and avert on stage fear. Therefore positive changes may happen to students’ skills and their thinking pattern.

5. Mrs. Chandrika Munaweera, a Mother of three children, resides at Kelaniya, states that she has also been under gone the Dhamma school education in her childhood and it directly effect to build her life well. Further she added that, Dhamma School education has given chances her to expose the outer world. Therefore she has been admitted her children to a Dhamma School since their primary stage.

6. Mr. Mohan Silva, Sub Inspector, Officer-In-Charge Raddolugama Police Station stated that During his 14 years of service, he has investigated lot of civil cases and incidents. Among them, majority were happened due to their irrespective behaviours. This has shown a decline of values, norms, right and rituals. He said that there should be a certain place to educate them in this regard .Finally proposed that the Dhamma School is one of the best place to educate them to over come this menace and it will help younger generation to prevent from violence in future.

7. Mr. Sugeesh Nanayakkara, Senior Manager, Ceylon Cold Stores, stated that He has undergone Dhamma education since his childhood and it has guided him to be a virtuous person in the society. He begins his carrier in junior executive level before 7 years. But the Important factor is he able to obtain the present appointment within a shorter period of his carrier due to skills he has obtained from his Dhamma School.

DATA COLLECTED FROM QUESTIONNAIRE

8. A cross section of 100 school students were selected from Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kurunegala, Puttlam and Galle districts. A questionnaire was given to the Cross section in order to get data. These students are undergoing academics in grade 6 to 10. During this data collecting process it has observed that some students were reluctant to answer the questionnaire and some did it in wilful manner. All the answers were given in their own wishes without any interference of other party. The sums of answers were tabulated in table 1 (Annex ‘A’).

SECONDARY DATA

9. Numbers of ten Dhamma schools were selected to get statistic data to evaluate the skills of students. These Dhamma Schools were selected from same district where the cross section was selected. The data has shown the numerical of students’ participation for completions on Dhamma school level during the last five years. It shows the growth rate of Students’ performance. The data were tabulated in figure 1 to 5 (Annex B).

10. The whole Island wide Dhamma schools students’ performances records are maintained by Department of Buddhist Affairs [12] .The whole island competitions are conducted by the same department with the assistance of YMBA. These competitions are conducted annually to evaluate the students’ performance level. Last five years statistics of students’ participation for whole Island competitions are tabulated in figure 6 (Annex C).

CHAPTER V

DATA ANALYSIS

ANALYSIS OF DATA RECORDED IN INTERVIEWS

1. These data were collected from adults’ personnel who positively engage with Dhamma School education system and officers of government and private sector. 80% of them accept that Dhamma School has the ability to develop the skills of students. However it was highlighted that during the recent past the existing numbers of Dhamma Schools were increased remarkably and the students’ population has increased significantly. The details are tabulated in figure 7 (Annex ‘D’).

Chart – 1 Growth of Dhamma Schools

Chart – 2 Growths of Dhamma Schools’ Students

ANALYSIS OF DATA ON QUESTIONNAIRE

2. Numbers of fourteen questions were forwarded to the cross section as a questionnaire. The answers were categorised to five parts and analyzed as follows;

3. Selection of Cross Section. Students were selected to the cross-section from Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Galle, Kurunegala and Puttlam districts. The numbers are mentioned in table 1 (Annex ‘E’). The highest percentage of 40% is represented in Colombo district and other districts are represented equally 10%. A large segment has given to Colombo district due to its Dhamma Schools and Student population capacity is higher than other districts.

Chart – 3 Growths of Dhamma Schools’ Students

4. Students from grade 6 to 10 were answered the questionnaire. More than 70% of 6 to 8 grades students willingly make answers but the rest of others from 9 to 10 grades were reluctant to answer the same. Sometimes they rejected to answer the questionnaire. The numbers of students of different grades are mentioned in table 2 (Annex ‘E’).However in this cross section 80% of students were positively undergoing the Dhamma School education But the rest of 20% have not gone through the Dhamma School Education yet.

Chart – 4 Attendances of Dhamma Schools

5. Willingness for Dhamma Education. In the segment of students who were undergoing Dhamma School Education, 42% were admitted to Dhamma School on their own will, 32% were admitted due to their parents’ choice. Another 26% entered due to their friends request and none of students were entered due to other reason. The numbers of students are mentioned in table 3 (Annex ‘E’).

Chart – 5 Reasons for Dhamma School admission

6. Skill Development. In this sample 32% of students have born skills and talents. The rest of 68% have not that kind of skills or talents. Both parties needed to improve their skills. The teacher’s role is very important in the skill development process. They should carefully trace the student abilities and indentify the skills what they have. Then teacher has to support the particular student to develop his/her skill/s. However 83% agreed that they got the support from their teachers but 17% were disagreed for that. 87% of students mentioned that they have no chances to develop skills in their School. But the rest of 13% were mentioned that they will get chances to develop their skills in their school. But 92% of Dhamma school students mentioned that they will get chances to develop their skills in Dhamma School. More than 90% were mentioned that they were already been developed any kind of skill/s from Dhamma Schools. The numbers are tabulated in table 4 (Annex ‘E’).

Chart – 6 Skill developments of Dhamma School students

7. Competition Attendance. Comparatively a high amount of competitions conduct annually and half yearly in Dhamma School education system rather than day to day school. These completions are already been categorised for certain levels and conduct by several Authorities. Classroom level and School level competitions conduct by the particular Dhamma School. Inter school level, provincial level and all island level competitions conduct by YMBA or Department of Buddhist Affairs. Therefore student can carry their own skills and talent from class room level to whole island level. It will motivate the students to improve their skills according to the competition level. The details of students’ attendance for these competitions are tabulated in table 5 and 6 (Annex ‘E’).

Chart – 7 Competition Attendances

Chart – 8 Levels of Competition

8. Opinion on Dhamma School. In the Globalization process students should have to expose the outer world to obtain knowledge. The Dhamma Schools play a vital role to educate the younger generation. In that process good thoughts and skills create in their minds to take the future challenges. In this cross section 70% of students were out of stage fear. It gives a positive answer to the society. 85% of students have the practical experience in Social activities. It will lead the country for a brighter future. At the end 75% of students said that the Dhamma school education is good and the rest of 25% said it was fair (Table 7 – Annex ‘E’). Finally all the sample members agreed that the Dhamma schools make a qualitative change in their lives with skills and values.

Chart – 9 Opinions of Dhamma School

SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS

9. The data which are tabulated in figure 1 to 5 (Annex ‘B’) clearly illustrate, during the last five years there was a significant growth of students’ skill levels. This growth has recorded in all parts of debating, sin

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