Teaching about Sikhism

High School Students

There are more than 25 million Sikhs around the world, which makes Sikhi (also known as Sikhism) the fifth-largest major world religion. Yet the Sikh tradition remains largely unknown in many nations and is often absent from the K-12 education system. Where it has been present,Sikhi has often been represented inaccurately.

These problems have contributed to the serious challenges that many Sikh students and Sikhs at large experience today, including bullying and harassment, negative stereotypes, discriminatory policies, vandalism and violent hate crimes.

These educational guides aims to help facilitate learning about Sikhs and Sikhi in K-12 classrooms, provide educators with information about issues faced by Sikh children in schools, and give basic reference information about the Sikh tradition.

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Core Beliefs of Sikhism

Khanda - symbol of SikhismAbout 500 years ago, a boy named Nanak was born in the Punjab region of South Asia. The town of his birth, Talvandi, which has since been renamed Nankana Sahib, falls within modern-day Pakistan. The predominant religions in Punjab at that time were Islam and Hinduism, and Nanak’s parents were Hindu by background. However, young Nanak was disenchanted by the social inequalities and religious practices he observed in the world around him and decided to establish a new religious tradition, which would come to be known in the Punjabi language as Sikhi (and later, in English, as Sikhism).
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Victoria: School’s ‘turban ban’ displays common misunderstanding of equality

Can a school impose a uniform policy that does not take into account a student’s religious or cultural beliefs and practices? This issue is being considered by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Sagardeep Singh Arora, on behalf of his five-year-old son Sidhak Singh Arora, is challenging Melton Christian College’s decision not to enrol his son unless he agrees not to wear his patka, a Sikh head covering.

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