To help students and their parents better understand the Australian school system and pathways into tertiary studies, an education seminar was held in Sydney on 28 July 2012. Now in its third consecutive year the seminar has become a regular fixture in the calendar of community activities organised by BAPS in Sydney.
The seminar began with a presentation on the education system which dispelled common misconceptions and provided valuable advice on subject selection. Parents found this especially useful.
The highlight of the evening was a panel discussion with BAPS youths, themselves successful students and professionals, on their high school experience. It allowed the audience to look into the future as the BAPS youths shared their experience on study techniques, study-life balance, career opportunities and the importance of satsang and a positive environment whilst in school.
At the various information stalls students and parents also found it valuable to speak with working professionals in their fields of interest, such as, engineering, medicine, IT and law.
The seminar was received positively by over 250 students, parents and guests.
- Liaison Officer from the New South Wales State Board of Studies, Ms Jennifer Michalski, said, “Such youthful people, you did something that the community needs.”
- Principal of Rosehill Public School, Mr Peter Wood, commented, “All the panellists were very impressive in sharing their experiences, and what a great resource you have within the community for people to be able to talk to.”
- Samir Bookseller, one of the parents, said, “It was very valuable for me being a new migrant to Australia. My son is in year 11, so this was a wonderful seminar for me as a parent to attend.”
- Year 10 student Vedant Dave said, “Unlike other seminars I’ve been to where it’s all just statistics-based, over here it was about study techniques and really what kind of support you need from parents.”
Following the success of the education seminar, BAPS youths were invited to participate in a ‘Parenting Teenagers in Cultural Context’ seminar organized by the Gandhi Peace Centre Australia and Migrant Resource Centre, an Australian Government body, on 4 August 2012. There BAPS children and youths presented a panel discussion on cultural identity, bridging the generation gap, peer pressure, the importance of good friends and Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s universal message of family unity through samuh bhojan (daily family meals) and ghar sabha (house assemblies). The panel discussion focused on instilling values, preserving culture and understanding heritage.