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“Happiness Class” Helping Students Change their Attitude Towards Studies

Delhi's students are finally finding happiness in schools

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Over 10 lakh students between Class 1 and 8 and about 50,000 teachers share the 45-minute Happiness Class. Flickr

Delhi’s students are finally finding happiness in schools. Rohan Rai, 10, is not stressed any longer by the thought of seeing his teacher after going through the morning assembly routine at this government school in central Delhi.

In fact, Rohan and his classmates are thrilled and excited to be in the classroom. They no more begin their day by scratching their heads to solve sums or struggling to get the grammar right.

Instead, they relax and meditate in what is termed as the “Happiness Class”, introduced in Delhi’s government schools last year. A typical Happiness Class starts with students rubbing their hands and putting them on the eyes to relax. A little bit of meditation follows. Children are themselves feeling the sounds of their surroundings.

At peace with themselves, they then go into discussions and exchange their own ideas about anything under the sun. The 45 minutes pass with happy faces all around — and it is now time to take out books.

happiness class, happiness curriculum
The Happiness Curriculum of the Delhi government is helping students to change their attitude towards studies. Flickr

“Initially, I thought this will be a new subject. However, this turned out to be an interesting session where we not only do meditation and listen to stories but also take part in various activities,” said the Class 6 student. The Happiness Curriculum of the Delhi government is helping students to change their attitude towards studies.

According to Rohan, during the Happiness Class, the students focus on things they would otherwise skip. “We meditate and focus on sounds — like our heartbeat and sounds in nature,” he said.

“The period begins with a few minutes of mindfulness practice, followed by a story or activity and reflective discussions. Each one of us is given a chance to reflect and express our thoughts about the story or activity.

“We are asked to draw or write about whatever we are feeling or like. We are also asked to spend time with our friends and family and express our emotions to them.” Students indulge in joyful exercises, indoor games, active enquiry, reflective conversations, storytelling, guided practices for mindfulness, group discussions and situation based role-play and skits.

happiness curriculum, happiness class
The new and unique curriculum was launched by Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia with an aim to develop self-awareness and mindfulness amongst students. Flickr

The new and unique curriculum was launched by Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia with an aim to develop self-awareness and mindfulness amongst students.

“Its aim was to inculcate the skill of critical thinking and inquiry among the students,” said an Education Department official. Why this curriculum? The official said the challenges in the school system had gone beyond learning standards and academic results.

“A research conducted on suicides in India has revealed that in addition to the challenges of learning and achieving, students come to school with stresses arising from many sources including family disturbances, peer conflicts, socio-cultural components and vulnerabilities to physical and mental health risk factors.”

The research revealed 26 suicides were reported every 24 hours due to issues including drugs, broken families, fights with friends and break-ups. “Prolonged exposure to such stresses leads to long term physiological and emotional disturbances, which severely hinders a child’s learning and development.”

According to the Delhi government, the Happiness Curriculum Framework was designed following the guiding principles given by the National Curriculum Framework (NCERT, 2005).

“Children learn in a variety of ways — through experience, making and doing things, experimentation, reading, discussions, questioning, listening, thinking and reflecting, and expressing oneself in speech, movement or writing, both individually and with others,” said the official from the Directorate of Education, Delhi.

happiness curriculum, happiness class
The Happiness Curriculum of the Delhi government is helping students to change their attitude towards studies. Flickr

Over 10 lakh students between Class 1 and 8 and about 50,000 teachers share the 45-minute Happiness Class. According to Nikhil, a maths teacher in the government school, these activities help students to increase concentration. “The results may take some time but for development of students, these activities are important,” he said.

The reflections and discussions will encourage students to utilise the skills in their life, he said, adding that the Curriculum moves a step ahead from the textbook based learning for an overall development of children.

“The students have an active participation in the class as the methodology of instruction is through activities, stories and discussions. “The curriculum was designed to enable students to communicate effectively” he said.

ALSO READ: Amit Shah: India to be Third Biggest Economy in Next Five Years

The classes will also enable learners to apply life skills to deal with stressful and conflicting situations around them, he said. In just one year into existence, the Happiness Curriculum has gathered attention from not just within India but also abroad.

Last year, when Afghanistan’s Acting Education Minister Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi attended one Happiness Class, he said he wished to have a similar concept in his country. Education Ministers and officials from several states in India too have visited the classes with a view to introduce similar classes. (IANS)

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Sad State Of Affairs: India ranks 118th in Happiness Index

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Image source: seagullpublishers.in

New York: In the Global List of the happiest nations, India was ranked 118th out of 156 countries. India has come down one slot as compared to the previous year. Hence, failing to make any improvement.

The World Happiness Report 2016 was published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The report takes into account GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make choices.

The list is topped by Denmark followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland. Countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Liberia & Burundi were noted as the least happiest countries.

According to the report, India was among the 10 countries witnessing the largest happiness decline along with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen & Botswana.

For the first time, the report, released on UN Happiness day March 20 indicates the measurement and consequences of inequalities in well-being of different nations and regions of the world. Previously, there have been arguments that happiness proves to be a better indicator of people’s welfare in comparison to income, poverty, education, health and a strong government.

The report reflects a new demand for greater attention to happiness as part of government’s policies. It provides evidence on how to achieve social well-being which is not money alone but also includes good health, fairness and honesty.

The report also exhibits that a nation’s key challenge is to make sure that the government polices are designed and delivered in such a manner that it enriches the social framework and teach the power of empathy to the present and future generations. (Inputs from Agencies)