Awards ceremonies celebrating outstanding results in GCSE, A-Level and AS-Level Gujarati were held for students of the Swaminarayan Sunday School at various BAPS mandirs and centres around the UK during January 2018.

The majority of the 59 examinees had achieved grades A* or A, with 88% scoring a B or higher.

The Swaminarayan Sunday School has provided free Gujarati learning for children since 1985 and was inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision of instilling Hindu culture, heritage and values to younger generations through proficiency in their mother tongue.

The School’s high standards have been regularly applauded by national bodies, including recently with a second gold award from the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education and a Schools Language Award from the British Academy.

Students were accompanied by parents and teachers who had gathered to celebrate the achievements of the young participants. The ceremonies began with Gujarati prayers sung in unison.

Yogi Patel, lead volunteer of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sunday School nationally, discussed the history of the School and elaborated upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision as well as the tireless dedication of volunteer teachers, some of whom have been serving continuously since the School began.

Certificates, trophies and medals were awarded by Satyavrat Swami, who emphasised the importance of Gujarati and bilingual learning in order to maintain cultural and religious values and for the holistic development of a child.

A video clip was shown of Mahant Swami Maharaj discussing the importance of the Gujarati language and expressing his joy at hearing British-born children speak the language with clarity and confidence during his recent visit to the UK.

Shaileshbhai Pujara, an examinations officer for the Sunday School, thanked students, parents, swamis and the inspiration of Mahant Swami Maharaj for the continued excellence in Gujarati training. A ‘Long Service Award’ was also conferred to longstanding members of the teaching staff at centres around the country.

The ceremony concluded with group photographs of the children with their awards.

BAPS is currently operating Gujarati classes at 15 centres in the UK – Birmingham, Crawley, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Loughborough, Luton, Manchester, Reading, Southend-on-Sea, Wellingborough, and four centres in the capital, in Brent, East London, South London and South East London – as well as in Paris and Antwerp in mainland Europe.

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