Explained: What is Delhi’s ‘happiness class’, and how is it implemented?

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The curriculum is designed for students of classes nursery through the eighth standard. (Express photo/Amit Mehra)

On her upcoming visit to India next week along with US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump will visit a Delhi government school, where she will attend a happiness curriculum class. The curriculum is one of the flagship schemes of the Delhi government in the education sector launched in July 2018 in all government schools.

While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were expected to accompany Melania during her visit, it has now come to light that they have not been invited.

What is Delhi's 'happiness curriculum'?

Citing the World Happiness Report, 2018, in which India ranked 133 among 155 nations in the global rankings, the curriculum calls for schools in India to promote development in cognition, language, literacy, numeracy and the arts along with addressing the well-being and happiness of students. It further says that future citizens need to be “mindful, aware, awakened, empathetic, firmly rooted in their identity…” based on the premise that education has a larger purpose, which cannot be in isolation from the “dire needs” of today’s society.

The objectives of this curriculum include developing self-awareness and mindfulness, inculcating skills of critical thinking and inquiry, enabling learners to communicate effectively and helping learners to apply life skills to deal with stressful and conflicting situations around them.

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How is the curriculum implemented?

The curriculum is designed for students of classes nursery through the eighth standard. Group 1 consists of students in nursery and KG, who have bi-weekly classes (45 minutes each for one session, which is supervised by a teacher) involving mindfulness activities and exercise. Children between classes 1-2 attend classes on weekdays, which involves mindfulness activities and exercises along with taking up reflective questions. The second group comprises students from classes 3-5 and the third group is comprised of students from classes 6-8 who apart from the aforementioned activities, take part in self-expression and reflect on their behavioural changes.

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Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia at a happiness class. (Express Photo/Amit Mehra)

The learning outcomes of this curriculum are spread across four categories: becoming mindful and attentive (developing increased levels of self-awareness, developing active listening, remaining in the present); developing critical thinking and reflection (developing strong abilities to reflect on one’s own thoughts and behaviours, thinking beyond stereotypes and assumptions); developing social-emotional skills (demonstrating empathy, coping with anxiety and stress, developing better communication skills) and developing a confident and pleasant personality (developing a balanced outlook on daily life reflecting self-confidence, becoming responsible and reflecting awareness towards cleanliness, health and hygiene).

For the evaluation, no examinations are conducted, neither will marks be awarded. The assessment under this curriculum is qualitative, focusing on the “process rather than the outcome” and noting that each student’s journey is unique and different.