For the past three weeks, students across India’s capital have been attending a radical new course: happiness.
The Delhi government introduced “happiness classes” in an effort to shift the country’s academic focus from student achievement to emotional well-being. In a country that uses standardized testing to determine student success, offers a limited number of seats in top universities and sets high expectations, educators have been seeing mental health consequences.
India’s rigid academic environment encourages rote memorization that often leads to cramming — and stress. This structure neglects the development of creative and social skills, Sisodia says.
“We have given best-of-the-best talent to the world,” Sisodia said, according to The Washington Post. “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?”
The happiness curriculum is the latest in a series of educational reforms shepherded by the Delhi government’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party. This year, 26 percent of Dehli’s budget is going to education, up from 23.5 percent last
In happiness class, there are no textbooks and no exams. During the daily 35-minute lesson, teachers lead students in meditation and creative exercises.