SOUTH AFRICA, November 13, 2015 (The Phoenix Sun): The South African Hindu Maha Sabha (SAHMS) has initiated a process whereby all those wishing to practice as Hindu priests will be required to undergo formal training as per a structured curriculum and independent examination, across the linguistic and ideological spectrum. Successful candidates will subscribe to a code of ethics and his/her name will be included in the national register of accredited priests. Acknowledging the need for a priest's qualification, the SAHMS submitted an application to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in 2014. The Development Quality Partner (DQP), and the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) nominated the South African Hindu Maha Sabha as the Assessment Quality Partner (AQP). It was unanimously agreed by all the representatives of organisations that the SA Hindu Maha Sabha will play the role of the Assessment Quality Partner.
The sabha will shortly be convening meetings to discuss the development of learning material and a bank of assessments. Practicing priests who do not have formal training can improve their qualifications by enrolling for this new course. Qualified priests will be evaluated using the mechanism of RPL (Recognition of prior learning). This will apply to both local and foreign priests. The curriculum is broad in the sense that it will accommodate priests from different linguistic groups and ideological orientation. It will also ensure that priests speak with one voice instead of contradicting each other and causing confusion in the community. This will be possible by ensuring that all prayers, rituals and ceremonies are informed by Hindu scriptures. Also, the Hindu Religious Practitioner qualification will encourage youngsters to consider priesthood as a full-time career. The move to introduce a qualification will not only create uniformity in terms of practice and reduce confusion amongst Hindus, but will also promote discipline and dignity to a very vital aspect of Hinduism.