Education Minister Manish Sisodia interacting with students during a happiness class at a government school in Vinod Nagar on Saturday. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)
Ahead of US First Lady Melania Trump’s scheduled visit to a ‘happiness class’ at a Delhi government school, education minister Manish Sisodia Saturday said the school exercise can help reduce tensions in the world if it is held everywhere.
Sisodia, also the deputy chief minister, was speaking at a school in East Delhi’s Vinod Nagar after interacting with the students, who told him how these classes have helped change their outlook and behaviour.
Sisodia said, “A process for developing acche insaan (good humans) is underway through happiness (classes) in the last one-and-a-half years. If people want to understand this on a national and international scale, then it makes me happy."
“If happiness classes are held in schools across the world — not necessarily the same as these or with the same name, we will learn a lot too — but if emotional learning and meditation is taught to students, it will reduce tensions in the world a lot," Sisodia said.
The education minister had launched the Delhi government’s flagship ‘happiness curriculum’ in July 2018, with the aim of developing mindfulness, critical thinking, self-awareness and life skills among students. The classes are held every day for the duration of an hour for students from nursery to VIII. During this time, students, supervised by a teacher, take part in activities including meditation and self-expression. They interact about the stories they read and take part in concentration-building group activities.
On Saturday, Sisodia said the classes were contributing towards the “overall personality development” of students, building focus, and inculcating in them a love towards society, people, parents and friends.
The teachers at the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in East Delhi, where the education minister paid a visit, also said the classes have helped make their students calmer.
Radha Sharma, a teacher, said, “The way students communicated with us earlier was rough, but now they are much more calm. We teach them how to live in the present through meditation, discussions about stories and other activities. They adapt to them and apply these lessons in their lives. They also teach things they learn here to their parents, when, for instance, they see them quarrelling. The classes have helped us too. It has bridged the communication gap between teachers and students.”
Sisodia interacted with students from Class V at the school Saturday, who told them about the impact of happiness classes. One student recalled that a story about a boy who gets his grandfather’s spectacles repaired instead of buying something for himself helped her appreciate her grandmother more than before.
“Now when she loses her glasses and seeks my help, I am happy to find them for her, whereas earlier I would crib and complain,” the student said.