On Wednesday 23rd December, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the UK was awarded with the prestigious Threlford Memorial Cup for 2020 by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
The Threlford Cup, awarded annually since 1935, is presented to individuals or organisations that have demonstrated a significant contribution in fostering the study of languages. It is part of the Institute’s wider initiative to “celebrate the importance of language and cultural understanding as well as excellence in language learning”. This award recognises the important and impactful contribution to the development of tools, resources and training to promote the learning of the Gujarati language.
The award was accepted by Rahul Bhagvat on behalf of a team of creative and dedicated BAPS volunteers who spearheaded a number of projects to develop new Gujarati resources.
Rahul Bhagvat said, “Gujarati is an integral component of our services for children at BAPS. It is inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s teaching that “Bhāshā jashe to sanskār jashe” – “If language is lost, culture is lost.” We thus endeavour to ensure that our children have the highest standard of resources available to help them learn Gujarati in the most effective and enjoyable way, thereby facilitating their all-round cultural, academic and spiritual development as part of our service to the community.”
This latest accolade, in addition to others received in the past, pays tribute to the efforts of many BAPS volunteers who have transformed the learning and teaching of Gujarati into an enjoyable, accessible and innovative experience. Games and resources have been developed that have infused modern education techniques with traditional Hindu values to provide a system of ‘gammat sāthegnān’ or ‘knowledge through enjoyment’.
The multifarious resources include an eight-book comprehensive Gujarati syllabus to GCSE level. Many interactive board and card games, such as Gujarati Whiz, Gujarati Spinner, Gujarati Flash Cards and Gujarati Strips, as well as games and resources for pre-school children, including a wooden Gujarati alphabet board and wooden Gujarati cubes, are available through the BAPS online gift shop.
The accessibility, scalability and simplicity of these resources have helped upskill the knowledge and performance of teachers around the world, enabling centres to replicate the methods and standards for their own schools across the UK and in Europe as well as in North America, Africa, the Asia-Pacific, the UAE, and even Gujarat. The dedication and collective endeavours of the volunteers have produced exceptional results for children taking GCSE and A-levels in Gujarati who have passed their papers with excellent scores.