The Delhi government is keen to integrate its Happiness Curriculum with Social, Emotional and Ethical (SEE) Learning curriculum, a programme that aims to bring compassion and ethics to the classroom. The curriculum, developed by the Atlanta-based Emory University in association with the Dalai Lama Trust, is set for a global launch in Delhi on Thursday.
“Delhi’s Education Minister and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia went through the SEE Learning curriculum and was keen to adopt some of the practices in the SEE Learning curriculum to enrich their existing curriculum,” said Geshe Lhakdor, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala and among the key persons involved in putting together the curriculum.
“The education system at present primarily caters to the senses — what we see, feel etc — not the mind. A bit like what the malls do. But inside, we are hollow, there is inner poverty. What this curriculum aims to do is bring in at least four new features to existing Social and Emotional Learning programmes — attention training, the cultivation of kindness and compassion for self and others, resilience skills for those who have gone through some kind of physical or emotional trauma and the awareness among students that we are all in some way dependent on each other,” said Lhakdor, adding that the curriculum is not copyrighted and that anyone is free to use it.
Though the curriculum aims to bring “secular ethics” to classrooms, starting from kindergarten all the way to Class XII and beyond, across geographies and religions, those associated with it say it can be moulded for situations and conditions unique to countries such as India.
“The idea is not to preach or throw the book at teachers and tell them to teach ethics or compassion in a certain way. The online platform for the curriculum, which will be launched on April 6, can be used to train teachers who will then adapt it in a way that suits their classroom,” said Carol Beck, Associate Director of Communication at Emory University’s Compassion Centre.
The curriculum, said Lhakdor, also attempts to tackle the issue of violence in classrooms. Besides Sisodia, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Piramal Group chairman Ajay Piramal and social and emotional learning expert Daniel Goleman are expected to be present at the launch.