How is the “happiness curriculum” to be taught in schools in India
Foster the inner well-being and happiness of the students through the understanding of the human mind and emotions: that is the main objective of a new curriculum that will be implemented in 1,000 schools in the state of Delhi, India. As explained in the BBC, in a ceremony in conjunction with various state authorities in the world of education, the Dalai Lama announced the implementation of this new way of teaching. The “curriculum of happiness” as the Tibetan spiritual leader calls it, is part of his effort to take the contemplative practice out of the religious context and take it to a more daily and useful level for the life of the people. Although similar ideas have already been implemented in other schools around the world Inspired by the vision of the Dalai Lama, it is the first time that a curriculum like this has become official in India.
According to the leader told the press, the goal is that students have a greater knowledge of emotions to develop compassion and happiness. But while this has much to do with Buddhist beliefs, the Dalai Lama also said that this new educational program is not based only on religion but on common sense and scientific knowledge. What characterizes this “happiness curriculum”?
1. Ancient Indian practices
The Dalai Lama believes that Indian wisdom fosters compassion and not violence through various traditional practices such as meditation. This is closely linked to what is written in the Buddhist texts, but the leader believes that it is very possible to extract this to examine it in a secular and academic way. In this sense, the curriculum seeks to transform religious practices into tools to promote the integral development of students.
2. Good professionals
The happiness curriculum seeks, not only to transform students into good human beings that propagate happiness but also to make them become good professionals who do not allow themselves to be led by corruption.
3. The classes
The curriculum includes “happiness classes” which are dictated in a period of 45 minutes. These include different activities and mental exercises focused on maintaining happiness.
4. The students
800,000 students, from kindergarten to eighth grade, participate in this new program.
Each class begins with a 5-minute meditation session where students have the opportunity to calm down and pay attention. This is a technique to generate awareness in students.
6. History and other activities
After the meditation, students can choose between 20 stories and 40 innovative activities focused on values and morals. Through these, the idea is that they think in a logical and creative way. Also, that they understand their role in society and in nature.
7. The message
The important thing about the curriculum is not that the students do all the designed activities. The most important thing is that they can understand the correct message, which, according to Manish Sisodia – Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and head of the Education Department – focuses on good mental health, character, and adaptation.
“The mental well-being of a child is important. Happy children learn more and are more willing to take advantage of their potential, “Sisodia told the media. “We should have done this 100 or 150 years ago and not forget the true meaning of education. Our education system only generates officials and failed to create better human beings. ” This perspective then seeks to transform the traditional system, placing the focus on the emotional needs of children as a means to form human beings, whole, trusting, good. There are 1,000 schools that have already implemented the change and it is expected that children take between six months and a year to internalize this new way of learning. Later it is expected that not only all schools in India will live this curriculum, but so will many other schools around the world.