Dalai Lama Launches ‘Happiness Course’ In Delhi Govt Schools; To Help Students Deal With Stress & Pressure
Students of classes I to VIII in Delhi government schools will now partake in a new course which does not require them to worry about exams or even scores for that matter. Under the ‘Happiness Course’, launched on July 2, the students will spend 45 minutes every day in participating in activities like storytelling, meditation and question and answer sessions. Additionally, for nursery and KG students, these classes will be held twice a week.
This new course will be a part of the ‘Happiness Curriculum,” which was launched by the Dalai Lama at an event which was attended by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. Reportedly, Arvind Kejriwal, while introducing this curriculum, termed it to be ‘historical’, while the Dalai Lama congratulated the Delhi government for initiating the course and said, “Only India has the ability to combine modern education with ancient knowledge which is necessary for the fulfilment of human emotions.”
What Is the happiness course?
Sisodia at the event said that the ‘Happiness Curriculum’ was developed by a group of 40 teachers from government schools, volunteers and educators over a period of six months. He also said that this course would harness the value system in students and teach them how to remain happy. According to Hindustan Times, the curriculum will focus mostly on activity-based learning and mental exercises, rather than students merely mugging up topics to write exams.
It also has 20 stories and 40 activities for the students of classes VI to VIII. One of the 40 activities includes the ‘Gratitude Wall’ where students will learn to thank others for writing a few lines expressing gratitude for family members who have helped in some way or the other. The entire focus of the curriculum will be on monitoring and observing the status of a child’s happiness. Moreover, a diary will be maintained by the teacher where he or she will document the child’s progress.
Overhaul of the present education system
According to Asian Age, Kejriwal not only criticised the current education system but called for its overhaul as well. He said, “the education system introduced by the British had a single agenda, and that is to produce clerks, and it saddens me that even post independence, we weren’t able to get rid of the system’’.
He added that under the present system of education which was introduced by Thomas Macaulay, students cram topics to write exams and it does not teach them to ask questions. He also said that there is a need to fix this education system to create ‘good human beings’ and this curriculum is a step towards that aim.
According to latest data released by Ministry Of Home Affairs, a quarter of all student suicide cases between 2014 and 2016 have been due to failure at examinations. Increase in pressure on students have put their mental health at stake, and it is no news. Such a course which seeks to ingrain the importance of happiness is undoubtedly a welcome move.
Delhi govt’s efforts towards improving the quality of education
The AAP government in Delhi has been making efforts to change the quality of government school for the better. It should be mentioned that the Delhi Education Department has been proposing a series of new programmes like providing summer camps for government school students which is aimed at helping children to enhance their skills, installing CCTV cameras, and giving self-defence training for girls among others, The Hindu reported.
Moreover, the Delhi government for the year 2018-2019 has allocated 26% of their budget for education. The total allocation of about Rs 13,997 crore is the highest among all sectors. Of the total amount, Rs 36 crores have been allocated to initiate new schemes as well as establishing 13 language academies.
In late May 2018, the Delhi government had also introduced spoken English classes aimed at enabling students to enhance their English speaking skills.