Helping children understand their own relationship with the Constitution and its values is how Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia described the purpose of the “Constitution at 70” campaign, inaugurated by the Delhi government for all its schools Wednesday.
Over three months, the campaign aims to make government school students in classes VI-IX and XI engage with the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, which are laid out in the Preamble to the Constitution. As per the plan laid out for the programme, August will be dedicated to liberty, September to equality and November to fraternity.
Earlier this month, a pilot for the programme had been carried out in three government schools.
An education department official who is part of the rollout of the campaign said that in the first week of each month, students will be introduced to the constitutional value concerned in class by the teacher.
“This will be followed by a self-reflection exercise for students in which they will be made to engage with certain questions on their relationship with the value in their every day life. For instance, do they think that it’s alright if a daughter is sent to dance class, but a parent does not want their son to go to a similar class? In the second week, they will be made to carry forward a survey on these questions with three different stakeholders — their parents, their neighbours and some college students — and come back to class with their findings and discuss them with their classmates. The idea is to also engage with contradictions between the values and what we have in society,” said the official.
According to the official, students of classes VI-VIII will also be asked to carry out “action projects” in their homes in the first week.
“For instance, for fraternity, they will be asked to learn a song in another Indian language to experience the diversity of the country. Another is for them to stay silent for four hours to explore lack of liberty,” said the official.
Speaking on his idea on the relationship between the Constitution and education, Sisodia said, “The person I need to thank the most for enabling this campaign is the person who had the idea to get the Preamble printed right before the index in every NCERT textbook, be it for class I or class XII, be it a textbook for math, science or social science… In my understanding, the idea is that we will teach math, we will teach science, we will teach Hindi so that the society envisioned in our Constitution comes true. But the focus on this has slipped to concerns like completing the syllabus, making children pass in exams… Then we had a discussion on how we can revive it.”