Year after year India’s rank in the global Happiness Index has been falling. It now stands at 140 among 156 nations, way below its neighbours Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A country with a population of 130 crores lies at the bottom of the list while Finland with little over half a crore is placed at the top. As the nation tries to compete with world powers in space, it has to deal with galloping unhappiness on earth. As the leaders talk about making the country a super power in the near future, it has to deal with an increasing number of gloomy faces.
Happiness has to be evolved as one grows up. Hence, one’s younger days, when one spends one-third of life in schools, have a tremendous impact on the happy state of mind. It is in the four walls of the classrooms one learns values, makes meaningful relationships, develops abilities to face emotional stress, and gains self-confidence. Here comes the relevance of Happiness Curriculum being developed by schools. Though some of the schools in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been the forerunners in this matter, it is the Delhi Government that has put the best foot forward.
The Happiness Curriculum is based on the premise that children have to go beyond textbooks and learn what lies outside academic curriculum. It is an effort to equip future citizens with values which will help them lead a meaningful, contended, happy life. Hence it comprises meditation, value addition and preparation to deal with crisis of health, emotion, and more. According to the Delhi Government’s plan, it will be implemented from Nursery sections up to Class VIII in the initial stage and it will later be extended to higher classes. This approach sounds realistic as behaviour formation starts at a very young age.
With the implementation of Right To Education (RTE), enrolments in schools have gone up. But, it is only work half done. Equally important is to give them an education that makes them better human beings than when they were out of the education system. It is in schools that children take baby steps in life. If these steps go wayward, the future steps too would go awry. Hence it is important that these steps are rooted in human values. A life refined in schools will remain meaningful and happy. A life marked by violent behavior in schools will continue to show the same traits in the days ahead. It is important to take note of the increasing instances of children assaulting their classmates and teachers in schools and outside the campus.
Children enter the education system in kinde rgarten at around three years of age and continue to spend close to two decades in educational institutions. In the end, they enter various professions. The question is: Do they enter their new life as honest and responsible human beings, feeling happy and contented? The Happiness Curriculum being implemented in an increasing number of schools could be the answer to this. However, a bigger question is whether the governments which pay only a lip service to education be able to take this experiment forward in a meaningful way?(Published on 15th April 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 16)