A greater sense of belonging in the school among students was a common finding across the feedback received on “happiness curriculum”, which is being taught in all the government schools in the capital. The feedback was provided by heads of the government schools in a series of meetings with Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia.
While a number of heads stated that a significant outcome of the happiness classes — which are scheduled as the first 45 minutes at the beginning of the school for nursery to class VII — is greater confidence among students to participate frequently in discussions and activities, one head of school stated that he observed less littering on the school premises.
Happiness curriculum involves lessons on ‘mindfulness’, storytelling and student interaction with teachers, and was launched in July to encourage mental well-being and “human-centric education”.
The head of school of a Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Khera Kalan said that there has been an increase in attendance.
“While this is true of only some classrooms where teachers are conducting classes exceptionally well, there has been an improvement in attendance in some classes of VI, VII and VIII. This is because the teacher-student connect has improved, and last-benchers are also getting integrated. A sense of belonging seems to have developed,” the head of school said.
During the feedback meetings, Sisodia issued a set of pointers to the heads, which he said were based on his observations during school visits.
“Some teachers are equating mindfulness with worship. Students are being asked to close their eyes and think of devtas, but this is not mindfulness. It means present with all of your mind… During the storytelling, I also observed that students were being questioned on the content while the emphasis should be on essence… It needs to be about children identifying their sources of happiness and being in touch with their state of mind,” he said.
He also encouraged the heads of schools to attend all happiness classes to observe the mechanism and the manner in which these classes should be conducted.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister also directed the heads of double-shift schools to hold joint annual day functions this year.
In a double-shift schools, the same premises operates as a girls’ school in the morning shift and as a boys’ school in the afternoon shift.
“We have ruined society by placing boys and girls in separate schools. Moving towards a fully co-educational system is a longer process, let’s try and remove the boundaries a little by mixing the annual day events of both shifts,” he said.
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