Sri Sathya Sai University or Institute of Higher learning
Posted by robertpriddy on November 15, 2011
Sri Sathya Sai University, established in 1981, was formally called the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed university). Despite intensive attempts to publicise it as a top centre of learning, with devotees posting misinfomational halleluja statements about it, including on a Wikipedia page, it is not on the list of the QS World University Rankings® currently considers over 2,000 and evaluates over 700 universities in the world, ranking the top 400. Academic Ranking of World Universities 2011 ranks only two Indian Institutes within the first 500 best universities – between 300 and 500. No other ranking list contains any Sai Baba institutions of any kind.
Since its establishment in 1981, the Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning had been declared a ‘deemed’ University by Madhuri Shah, devotee and Chairperson of the University Grants Commission, on a par with the rest of India’s Centres of Higher Learning! A couple of decades later the Indian authorities elevated that Institute into a fully-accredited university, due to Sai Baba’s increased political and financial influence, rather than any hint of excellence of the Sathya Sai educational standards. It is a faith university, and is completely inconsequential as regards science and humanities. After the demise of Sathya Sai Baba in 2011, the University was relegated back to the status of mere ‘deemed university’. This was not least because it is a faith university, and is completely inconsequential as regards most of the sciences and all modern humanities. Being of such a low educational level, many of its graduates could not think outside their mental learn-by-rote boxes – nor were they allowed to expose the many fallacious and ignorant ‘teachings’ of Sai Baba that were part of their daily fare.
The famous former editor of Sai Baba’s journal, V.K. Narasimhan, told me in the mid 1990s how appalling was the method and standards of education there, because most students who obtained Ph. D. degrees there were incapable of any informed discussion of questions, having no independence of thought but mostly only being able to repeat what they had learned. I found this to be true when I discussed subjects with certain students of his university. Moreover, as a further symptom of the situation, in 2011, the college teachers at Prashanthi Nilayam revolted against the Central Trust for failing to pay them properly.
Add to the reputation the Sai Baba colleges have regarding the repeatedly testified widespread sexual abuse of male students and its popularity is declining, the more so now that the figurehead is dead. This is seen in many ways… for example, on the official page for Sai Educational Institutions, the links to Sri Sathya Sai University are either dead or extremely slow to download (see http://sssihl.edu.in/). Furthermore, the link on the main page to “Ashram Information” leads nowhere but back to the same page! Many such signs of decline in the entire Sai movement and organizations are to be found throughout the Internet. Websites formerly visited a lot are now up for sale.
Ex.student of Sai University describes life within its confines
The penetrating article Life at Sathya Sai University is an impressively articulate account of almost exclusively negative experiences of the studies, out-dated pedagogical methods and the attitudes, quality and behaviour of teachers there. The author shows how the professed aim to provide both secular and spiritual education is marred by the total adherence to Sai Baba’s moralistic near-fundamentalist directives, which stifle all intellectual and autonomous or individual personal growth and creates an atmosphere of hypocrisy and a toxic environment. He judges it as a metaphorical and a literal prison where curiosity and initiative are killed (unless it accords 100% with Sai Baba’s ideals). The teachers enforce strict censorship, internal spying, rote learning with unquestioning passivity, no freedom to investigate (i.e. no own use of Internet) nor to get knowledge from other sources than those adopted. The writer gives telling examples of these practices.