News & Events

National Gujarati Teachers’ Conference
Saturday 17 February 2018

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London welcomed 108 senior management representatives from 38 different supplementary schools, mandirs and community groups across England on Saturday 17 February 2018 to further their learning about the future of Gujarati language teaching.

The Conference was the first of its kind and focussed on the forthcoming changes to the GCSE Gujarati exams. Significant effort has been made since 2017 to avert the possible discontinuation of GCSE and A-Level exams in Gujarati. This Conference was the first opportunity for many schools and teachers to gain first-hand information about the new exam specifications being introduced by Pearson – the examination board that has assumed the administration and operation of GCSE and A-Level Gujarati.

The Conference was delivered through speeches, workshops and networking sessions designed around the theme of ‘Treasure, Innovate and Inspire’ – treasure and promote the rich heritage of the Gujarati language, innovate novel teaching methods and learn the latest information about the GCSE exams, and be inspired with renewed enthusiasm to teach Gujarati to the young and bring awareness to their parents.

Key speakers for this Conference included Alistair Drewery, Languages Subject Advisor for Pearson, Pascale Vassie OBE, Executive Director for the National Resource Centre for Secondary Education, Bernadette Holmes MBE from the language campaign group Speak to the Future, and Anju Bhatt, from CVS Brent, who provided guidance on acquiring grants and funding support for Gujarati teaching.

The Conference was further enriched with the visit of Gareth Thomas MP, the Member of Parliament for Harrow West, who campaigned heavily last year to save the Gujarati exam from being discontinued. His open letter to the Secretary of Education, petitioning for the continuation of the Gujarati GCSE and A-Level exams, received over 8,000 signatures.

Viveksagar Swami, a senior swami of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, shared motivational messages of Gujarati learning and teaching via a recorded video presentation. Video blessings were also played from His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, who stressed the value of all Gujarati schools working together.

Feedback from the delegates was overwhelmingly positive with many pledging to attend the next conference in greater numbers. A number of attendees also expressed their happiness at the opportunity to network with and meet many schools from their respective towns and cities as well as further afield.