Manish Sisodia, Education Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi addressed an online panel discussion on ‘systematic social-emotional learning’ of the happiness curriculum by Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), to celebrate the successful implementation of ‘happiness curriculum’ across Delhi government schools, during its international education week.
Sisodia, the Education Minister, while speaking at the event said that the Delhi government wanted to design a curriculum for students that would prepare them to become lifelong learners. He said that the Happiness Curriculum is not a value education class that preaches moral values to the students. The Happiness Curriculum also focuses on developing the mindset of the students to adopt the values in their everyday behavior and attitude.
The panel line-up included Dr. Anil Teotia, Chairperson of the Happiness Committee, Professor Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation, and Richa Gupta, co-founder of Labhya Foundation, who moderated the discussion.
On being asked to share his vision for developing this curriculum, during the discussion, Sisodia said that he is just a politician who thinks education is the only way to reform society and he believes that politicians should work as facilitators of education through better education.
Mr. Sisodia added that education is the only tool available that can reform society and give them a society that they all dream of. He also added that globally, education is being used to fill unemployment gaps and lessen poverty, but it still does not address more human problems that the society faces.
Sisodia said that so far, successful education models around the world have been producing professionally sound people, but not emotionally sound people. Happiness curriculum works towards building a confident and holistic mindset towards creed, caste, and religion so the students become more self-aware, and open towards each other.
Further, the discussion looked at understanding the need for social-emotional learning (SEL) programs around the world, across all systems. He said that the Happiness Curriculum provides the toolkit for the children to scientifically observe their emotions and understand them. It is the science of emotions because the students will grow up to become better human beings once they are able to understand and recognize their emotions well.
Sisodia also said that the role of happiness curriculum then becomes critical in developing the mindset of the students as well as the teachers in adopting these ethical values in their behavior. Once out of school, the students should be ready to live in the world as lifelong learners.
Praising Sisodia’s vision, Prof. Reimer Prasad said that the curriculum was impressive, and pathbreaking in tackling a huge challenge of building capacities of teachers and enforcing happiness classes in all Delhi government schools.
Prof. Reimer said that in a world that is changing very rapidly with an uncertain future, this pandemic is a reminder that it is important to question the deep purposes of schools and education. He also added that educators helping students develop a sense of ethics, agency, and compassion for others is important, and happiness plays an equally important piece in this.