The Delhi Government’s Happiness Curriculum

About the Project

This project is one of the 2021 WISE Awards winners.

 

Context and Issue 

The Indian school system emphasises rote learning and high scores as the ultimate worth of students to determine their college acceptance and job prospects. The impact of this pressure is evident in India’s alarmingly high teenage suicide rates, every hour, one student commits suicide in India.

In addition to the stress placed on students by the system, over 115 million children in India come from a combination of adverse experiences such as poverty, domestic violence issues, socio-cultural discrimination, and, physical and mental health vulnerabilities. All of this disrupts their expected physical, mental and emotional growth patterns. They do not develop age-appropriate behaviours to solve problems critically, handle relationships sensitively or manage conflict tactfully.

 

Solution and Impact

Our groundbreaking partnership with the Delhi government created space in the school curricula, for the first time, to include social emotional learning which develops life skills. The Happiness Curriculum aims to address the well-being and happiness of students with a strong emphasis on mindfulness, self-awareness, critical thinking, reflection & other social-emotional skills.

To date the Happiness Curriculum has impacted 800,000 students from Nursery to Grade 8 across all 1,024 government schools in Delhi. Overall, the students showed better relationships with their teachers, increased participation in classes and increased focus and mindfulness. For the teachers, they were able to prioritize values over academic success, a change in their orientation for how they were designing classes and an increased collaboration among the teachers.

The momentum from this project towards scaling SEL, has led to partnerships with other states, with a potential to impact over 4 million students in India.

The purpose of education is not just to equip individuals with required knowledge but also to create individuals who are confident, mindful, responsible and happy, who collectively build a harmonious society.

 

Future Developments 

In the coming years they hope to achieve two goals.  First, the deepening of the work in strengthening the existing project and in transforming the entire education system in Delhi. Second, the replication of their work at scale. They also aim to  ensure the integration of SEL based curricula into 7 state education systems impacting over 4 million students in India.

April 24, 2019 (last update 09-01-2021)