TOS at the Golden Link Colleges, a short write up previously published in the AUSTRALIAN TOS LINK, November 2017, issue. Written by Gayle Thomas
The author (middle) with students
HPB states in the, The Key to Theosophy, ‘that members can best help the movement of theosophy by living it by practicing altruism’. The Golden Link College (GLC) in the Philippines provided a perfect venue for me to volunteer to teach English as a second language. GLC is based in Caloocan city, a very poor area of Metro Manila.
GLC was established by the Theosophical Society and the Theosophical Order of Service. Vicente Hao Chin (2016) wrote the curriculum, ‘On Education’. Based on the philosophy and vision of the school, the curriculum’s aim is, “to promote a kind of education that is free of the many harmful elements of standard education, such as ranking, competition, use of fear and anger in teaching, over focus on grades and examinations etc.” (Hao Chin 2016)
Young students in silence.
The curriculum, believes firmly in the importance of total human development rather than simple academic preparation. It gives opportunities to all students to rise and be the best that they can. Having just completed an Education Masters subject on Testing and Assessment, I can attest to the controversy the NAPLAN testing is having on our Australian curriculum. Schools are focused on achieving high NAPLAN results which concentrates on numeracy and literacy. This often comes at the expense of other subjects such as the arts, physical education and other vital developmental subjects. At GLC, quoting Vic (2007) again, ‘the core curriculum must enable the student to have the needed foundation for the essential aspects of living’.
To facilitate these teachings, all teachers participate in the Self-Transformation seminars. Self-Transformation is the mastery of the self and awakening of our higher potentials. I was also fortunate to attend one of Vic’s Self-Transformation seminars on my arrival to the Philippines. GLC is living proof that Vic Hao Chin’s belief to revolutionize education is one of the most important actions we can do. Vic often quotes Krishnamurti when he says, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
This brings me to reflect on the work of the TOS. How living in the Western world where it is easy to drop some money into a box for poor hungry children in Africa, or to help some flood victim, or survivors of an earth quake or donate clothes for the homeless we are never sure if the money reached those in need or those in greed.
But now I can say I have visited the recipients of TOS student sponsorships, looked them in the eye experienced their joy, their hugs and felt part of the oneness of life. I am sure Bev Parker from Cairns can also attest to this. I spoke to Bev before travelling to GLC and she shared her lovely experience with her sponsored student. This opportunity to provide sponsorship is open to us all and the joy tangible. I thank the TOS as their sponsorships for GLC students from financially challenged families enables them to achieve improved life opportunities.