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Assessing the Approach of Sathya Sai Bab's Followers to Young People's Spiritual and Moral Development

Funding: Arts and Humanities Research Board (joint award Professor Robert Jackson/Dr Eleanor Nesbitt)
Amount: £46,395
Duration: 2003-2004
Researchers: Dr Elisabeth Arweck; Dr Eleanor Nesbitt

This study aimed to extend knowledge of NRMs’ initiatives for spiritual and moral development and citizenship education in mainstream schools and to contribute to understanding of both the Hindu tradition in the UK and of a particular Hindu-related NRM, the devotees of Sathya Sai Baba, a South Indian teacher venerated by a worldwide following.

Our study of the programme concerned, Sathya Sai Education in Human Values, coincided with heightened sensitivity at media coverage of the movement. Comparative analysis of findings in relation to the previous project yielded insights on maturational stages in the development of New Religious Movements as well as on the eclecticism of the design and implementation of the educational programmes in question.

Key publications: Arweck, E., Nesbitt, E. and Jackson, R (2005) Common values for the common school? Using two values education programmes to promote "spiritual and moral development", Journal of Moral Education, 34(3), 325-42.
Arweck, E. and Nesbitt, E. (2007) Spirituality in Education: Promoting Children's Spiritual Development through Values, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 22(3), 311-326.
Arweck, E. and Nesbitt, E. (2008 forthcoming) ‘Peace and Non-Violence: Sathya Sai Education in Human Values in British schools’ Journal of Peace Education, 15, 1, March.