How They Hear Better Than Us?

Humanistic Educational Approach for hearing impaired children at CEHIC.

I know we all want a better world. But how can we make a better world? What have we done to make a better world?

We all are digital heroes who are fighting against social issues and try to resolve them within the digital world. But there are “Silent Heroes” who have found more practical ways to resolve the same issues that we used to fight.
Hence, for the betterment of all of us and the whole world, I thought to share this interesting conversation Randika and I had with a true trendsetter: Rev. Fr. Aloysius Pieris sj.

It was a fine evening. The heat of the day has disappeared to a calming warmness. Sunshine has been losing brilliance and the colours turned to Darkness!
But I didn’t know what I was going to hear is an exceptional action taken to bring out children from darkness into light by giving an outstanding approach to education. I didn’t think what I was going to hear is “the medicine” for the future we all want — only if we are ready to take it.
So, there we sat in the verandah among the sculptures, art pieces, and monuments of “Tulana” with inspiring Rev. Fr. Aloysius Pieris.

Now you may wonder who is Fr. Aloysius Pieris?
Of course, it’s the same impression Randika and I also had before meeting him. Fr. Aloysius Pieris, I would say a different kind of human being!
As Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda says, Fr. Aloy Pieris is an erudite Sri Lankan scholar, researcher, Indologist and has been a professor at about 20 reputed universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, London, Vanderbilt in the USA, and so on to mention a few. He has to his credit authored 20 books, some of which are now used as texts in certain universities. He has published approximately 300 research papers in local and international journals. Fr. Pieris’s publications include many scholarly articles on both canonical and post-canonical Pali literature as well as on Abhidhammika philosophy. Some of his writings have appeared in many Western languages such as Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese and also in Asian languages such as Indonesian, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.
(Retrieved from

How They Hear Better Than Us?

CEHIC: Centre of Education of Hearing Impaired Children

Fr. Aloy commenced his conversation explaining how they could liberate children in the silent world to a world full of sounds with confidence. It’s about CEHIC : Centre of Education of Hearing Impaired Children founded by Rev. Sr. Greta Nalawatta and Fr. Aloysius Pieris in 1982. It’s about a different type of education; I would say it’s “the right type of education” they provide to these children at CEHIC which made them hear the world better than us.

CEHIC was an effort taken to uplift the lives of hearing impaired children and their parents in Sri Lanka and also serve as a research centre where new pedagogical methods are experimented and developed. With this right type of education system, CEHIC ( could integrate more than 560 children with the mainstream education system in the country and produce scholars in many streams such as arts, engineering, science etc.

Five Principles of Humanistic Education by Rev Fr. Aloysius Pieris, s.j.

(Inspired by the conversation and the CEHIC School brochure)

The humanistic education system is inspired by the true meaning of Siksana, and Adhyapana”. “Siksana” means the academic system which nourishes children spiritually, creatively and makes them ready to be socially responsible people. “Adhyapana” — means making someone proceed further or go forward.

Here is an eye opener for all of us, with the current education where are we pushing our children? where do we want them to go?

With that Fr. Aloysius says he would like to interpret the concept as “taming the beast”. Where it helps the children to be a civilised, harmonised, peaceful person which results in a better wold. To explain this further, he takes an example from the Buddhist Iconography from the life of Buddha: The Enlightened One shown to be seated serenely in the lotus position upon a coiled serpent whose hood hovers over him, protecting him from floods below and rains above. He explains this situation with Alagaddupama Sutta, where it discusses “the art of knowing the dhamma is compared to the art of grasping a serpent”. Which illustrate the power of knowledge of a harmonious person.

01. The Three Beast – Tamers – “Trisiksa”

As Fr. Aloysius says, aesthetics, sports and religion are the “tri-siksa” perform in the school. The perfect integration of aesthetics, sports and religion help to prevent children become intellectual monsters.

AESTHETICS: Art enhances any person’s creativity it enables anybody to think beyond the borders and produces people with great taste.

SPORTS: While art soothes the person, sports build the personality — the good balance between psycho & physio. Sports help children to learn teamwork, leadership, decision making, win&loose, basically, it enhances the capacity of a person.

RELIGION: The child is invited to taste the joy of being good. It teaches the culture. how to appreciate the differences of people in the world. Learning religion shapes the character of a person.

These agents help to defeat competitiveness, greed. Children learn to appreciate and respect.

02. Free Education

Inspiring from the culture we had of the monk, the teacher and the physician never charged for their service where the community helped each other in their needs, the school provides free education for all the children studying there.

03. Home-School Merger

The first school of a child is the “Family”. Children learn from parents, surrounding of the home. To facilitate the “home-culture” in the school the parents; especially “Mother” work hand-in-hand with the teachers at the primary level of the education. This helps to improve and enhance the natural habitats of humans and interconnect them with the formal education system. The strategy is to make the school is a home for the child.

04. Inter-Religious Unity

Since our society is passing through a stormy period of different ideologies, concepts, chauvinism etc., the inter-religious unity which supports maintaining equality among children is taken as one of the main fundamentals of the education system. Raising up with this strong foundation of unity will help to create a peaceful society in future.

05. Option for a Community School

Breaking the monopoly of the “government and private school” system, this school bring an option for a community school where any child can learn together. A place where every child can learn art, sports, religion together without any barrier.

As I started my article saying we all want a better world. But how do we make the world better? Listening to the story of CEHIC and the broader philosophy of Rev Fr. Aloysius Pieris, s.j., i remembered An Ounce of Consciousness Is Worth a Ton of Creativity by Peter D’Almeida (

A small thought of the founders of CEHIC could support the hearing impaired children to hear the world and to talk to the world. And these five humanistic education approach had shaped a well civilised human being that’s why they can hear better than us.

What else we need to achieve in this fragile world?

We don’t need to be fully equipped to make a change. It is just initiating step one. But it’s up to you to decide whether it is step one or one step because children are our future.

May the triple Gem bless all
May God bless you all!

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