Saraswati Vidya Niketan -A Hindu school in West Indies


Guyana is a country in the Latin America, neighbored by Suriname and Venezuela. Culturally it is more close to the Caribbean countries.

Heard of a Hindu school outside India? Guyana has one.

As per Dr. Kumar Mahabir, a noted faculty at University of Trinidad and Tobago, Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) is a private school in Guyana that has created a history of sort. A Hindu school, it was founded and headed by Swami Aksharananda (original name: Dr. Odai Pal Singh, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA).
Dr Mahabir adds that the school has been producing students who have been excelling with 19 and 20 CSEC (CXC) passes [equivalent to London GCE and Cambridge O’Level] with distinctions. SVN’s Curriculum includes 15 subjects prepared for at the CSEC (CXC) Examinations delivered by highly-qualified and devoted teachers. Generally, students do poorly in Mathematics and English in CSEC in the Caribbean. However, 
at SVN school, 90 per cent of the students have passed these two subjects. 

Here are more facts about Guyana’s Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) school. Much of the info has been aggregated from school’s website.

  1. It is a Hindu Secondary School opened in 2002. Bhumi Puja (Sod Turning)for the construction work was performed on the auspicious occasion of Krishna Janamasthmi Day 1998 and the classes officially commenced from, World Teacher’s Day ,5th September 2002 with an enrollment of 35 students.

2. SVN’s Curriculum includes 3 courses addressing Hindu culture: Vedic      studies,Bharatnatyam Dance and Kathak Dance.

3. The School motto is: Speak the truth. Practice righteousness. Do not neglect studying and teaching.

(From the  Vedas – Satyam vada dharmam cara svadhyaya pravacanabhyam na pramaditavyam).

4. The school’s facilities include the 40-seat Zara Computer Laboratory, with printing and photocopy facilities, a Library (currently being refurbished), and there are plans to build a Science Laboratory. There are 19 staff members and the enrollment in 2011-2012 academic year was 312 students:  120 males, 192 females.

Most of the students come from the West Bank Demerara (WBD) and West Coast Demerara (WCD)and few of them are from the East Bank Demerara (EBD) and Georgetown.

5. According to the website, the teaching philosophy of SVN: All knowledge is already inherent in the individual soul. Real learning, with the student as the focus, consists of actualizing the potentiality latent in the student. With this in mind SVN has embarked on a philosophy of education that is concerned with the overall development and transformation of the student. While academic brilliance is encouraged we also foster the eternal and universal human values of compassion, fearlessness, truth, forgiveness, and non-injury.

6. The school was envisioned by Swami Aksharananda of Guyana who is of the view that the country’s education system, a legacy of our colonial past, is severely limited in that while it emphasizes Western and Judeo-Christian values, it de-emphasizes the role of the traditional Indian culture inherited by the Indian child. We believe that because we live in a society characterized by cultural and religious diversity, the school education must reflect this diversity in its national curriculum. SVN seeks to remedy this imbalance with an appropriate cultural input in the school’s standard Caribbean high school curriculum.