STUDENTS TAKE HAPPINESS CLASSES IN DELHI
Students in India face immense pressure, having to attain extremely high scores to get into top universities. Schools have focused on students' performance, not on their well-being. But that could be changing.
As reported in the Washington Post, schools in Delhi recently introduced happiness classes, allowing students to spend the first half-hour of their school day listening to inspirational stories and participating in meditation exercises and other activities to enhance their well-being.
Students in one class, for example, learned how much physicist Stephen Hawking managed to achieve in his lifetime despite suffering from a neurodegenerative disease. In another class, students closed their eyes and pictured themselves doing something that made them happy.
Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s education minister, launched the happiness curriculum in front of a stadium full of Delhi teachers. “We have given best-of-the-best talent to the world,” he said. “We have given best-of-the-best professionals to industry. We have been successful so far.
But have we been able to deliver best-of-the-best human beings to society, to the nation?” But can "best-of-the-best" be produced through 30 minutes of happiness activities per day? The program certainly has its skeptics, including teachers who wonder if classrooms are too crowded for such interactive activities to be effective.
But Sisodia, encouraged by the impact of happiness programs in Bhutan and other countries, hopes it will produce better citizens than just traditional courses can.
“If a person is going through our education system for 18 years of his life and is becoming an engineer or a civil servant, but is still throwing litter on the ground or engaging in corruption, then can we really say that the education system is working?” he asked.
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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