The term ‘happiness curriculum’ has been in the news in the recent past,and almost everyone in Delhi is familiar with it. The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), Melania Trump, during her maiden visit to India, attended a ‘happiness class’ at a government school in Delhi and interacted with its teachers and students. While the FLOTUS and other guests were watching a cultural performance happening on the stage, a little boy in the audience started dancing and won their admiration. Witnessing the jolly kid’s impromptu dance, Mrs. Trump too smiled at the student, applauded and expressed her joy. It was an incident of joy in action.
The Aam Aadmi Party government’s ‘Happiness Curriculum’ scheme launched in 1,030 Delhi government schools in 2018, has been hailed as a major school education reform in the country. The scheme that targets students from kindergarten to class VIII is seen as a shift from exam-and-marks-oriented education to holistic education with the focus on cognition, literacy, numeracy, values, and learner well-being.
Is learning a joyful experience for learners in India? Do children really learn what they need to, in order to lead a happy life? What are the factors that affect effective learning and act as hurdles for joyful learning? Does our education system prepare students for life or for exams and career? These questions arise when we think of ‘happiness curriculum’ and ‘happy schooling’.
Why ‘happiness curriculum’?
The World Happiness Report 2019, published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which ranks