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Kansas became the 14th state in the Midwestern United States to incorporate Sikhism into its social studies curriculum. This historic decision comes nearly a week after the Indiana Board of Education approved to incorporate Sikhism as a subject in five distinct locations in Indiana state standards on March 4, 2020.

The Kansas State Board of Education approved the Kansas standards, which include themes for ‘suggested instruction' for public school children of all ages. As per the vote, it was decided that Sikhism will be included in the suggested curriculum for Middle-Level Geography and Upper-Level World History. Simultaneously, it was also decided that individual school districts will also retain responsibility over their curricula, in accordance with Kansas education policy.

Commenting on the same, Dr. Pritpal Kaur, Sikh Coalition Education Director said, “Today is a victory in our years-long campaign to cause a generational shift in Sikh Awareness via advocacy around education policy.” She added that Sikhism's inclusion in state standards is merely the beginning. Also, they will continue to work and make sure that educators and students have access to reliable and appropriate information about the Sikh faith.

The Sikh Coalition assisted Hartej Singh in speaking in favor of Sikhism's inclusion before the Kansas State Board of Education, in addition to analyzing the draft standards for the board in January. The move, according to Ranjit Singh Lamba, a long-term resident of Overland Park, Kansas, with his family, will "make my children feel represented and included in their classrooms."

Sikhism and its origin

Sikhism evolved from the spiritual teachings of the faith's founding guru, Guru Nanak (1469-1539), and the nine Sikh gurus who followed him. Gobind Singh (1666-1708), the tenth guru, named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, bringing the line of human gurus to an end. Guru Granth Sahib was established as the 11th and final eternally alive guru, a religious spiritual/life guide for Sikhs. Sikhism is a religion that does not believe in caste or class hierarchies and instead places an emphasis on helping others.

The United States is home to 700,000 Sikhs, making Sikhism the fifth-largest religion in the world. The word Sikh, pronounced "sickh," is a synonym for "disciple" or "learner."

Sikhism to be taught in Kansas and other US states 

With these changes to Kansas and Indiana's standards, 23,028,547 pupils nationwide—roughly 45% of all public school students in the United States—will now have the opportunity to learn about Sikhism in school. New Jersey, Texas, New York, California, Idaho, Tennessee, Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan, North Dakota, and Nebraska have also elected to include Sikhism in their requirements.

This decision ensures that children in Kansas will now have the opportunity to learn about Sikhism in a constitutionally appropriate manner and foster a more inclusive environment.

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