"Every child in Delhi will be a Deshbhakt in the truest sense," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said when he launched the Deshbhakti (patriotism) curriculum for Delhi government schools. "In the last 74 years, we taught Physics, Chemistry, Maths in our schools, but did not teach Deshbhakti to the children; the sense of Deshbhakti is within all of us but it needs a push to rise," Kejriwal said as he launched the curriculum on Bhagat Singh's birth anniversary on 28th September.
The 'Deshbhakti' curriculum is being rolled out in every class – from nursery to class 12 – across all public schools in the national capital.
What Is The 'Deshbhakti' Curriculum?
The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has launched Deshbakhti curriculum, that they say, is aimed at "instilling the spirit of patriotism and nationhood" among the students.The curriculum aims to develop a deep sense of respect towards the "Fundamental Duties and Constitutional values", "bonding with one's country", and a "conscious awareness of one's roles and responsibilities".
The course, according to the teacher's manual, will help build civic knowledge and enable students to participate in addressing real-life problems.
The Delhi government under AAP has been credited to have revolutionised the education system and upgrading the infrastructure across the government schools. With the launch of 'Happiness' classes in 2018, it created a new benchmark for education. Initiated by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the Happiness Curriculum aim to improve the mental health well-being of students in government schools in the national capital, an initiative which has been acknowledged by ministers of foreign countries as well.
What Will Happen In 'Deshbhakti' Class?
Each class will begin with a 'Deshbhakti Dhyaan' of five minutes where the students will talk about five new patriots each day.
The students will be asked to maintain a journal called 'Deshbhakti Diary' in which they will jot down their thoughts, experiences and understanding of activities done during the class.
The classes for Deshbhakti will be held twice a week for students of 11th and 12th, while the classes for 6th to 8th will be held daily.
While there will be no textbooks for the patriotism classes, teachers have been given manuals to facilitate the lectures.
Discussions will be an important part of the 40-minute-long class, according to the handbook given to teachers.
With its emphasis on 'observing and assessing the development of values, behaviors and actions of deshbhakti among students', there will be no grading or exams for this subject.
What Is The Objective Of The 'Deshbhakti' Curriculum?
The curriculum aims to achieve eight learning outcomes: self-awareness, self-confidence, problem-solving, practising constitutional values, pluralism and diversity, environmental sustainability, ethical social behaviour, as well as collaboration and social/civic responsibility.
The other visions of the curriculum are:
Building a sense of duty, responsibility and sacrifice towards the nation.
Teach students to live with the world in harmony and with respect.
Instilling patriotism into children, making them realise it is not only for special occasions like Independence Day.
Teach them that small acts done responsibly every day also constitute patriotism.
What Kind Of Books To Read?
While there will be no textbooks in the curriculum, teachers have been given manuals to conduct the classes. The handbook for class 6th to 8th enlists seven chapters around the theme of nationalism and patriotism. The book, which is in Hindi, has the following chapters:
-Apne Desh se Pyaar (Love for One's Country)
-Apne Desh ka Samman (Respect for One's Country)
-Deshbhakt Kaun? (Who is a Patriot?)
-Mera Desh Mera Gaurav (My Nation, My Pride)
-Mera Bharat Mahaan Phir bhi Viksit Desh Kyu Nahi (Why is India Not a Developed Country)
-Mere Sapno Ka (The India of My Dreams)
Similar chapters can be found in handbooks for class 9th to 12th.
The curriculum includes the contributions of freedom fighters, including Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, BR Ambedkar, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Savitri Bai Phule, and publications such as Swaraj and Amrit Bazar Patrika.
The Delhi government had constituted a five-member committee in September 2019 to consult stakeholders, experts, and government school teachers to help draft the 'Deshbhakti Curriculum'. Chief Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced the plan for it on the 73rd Independence Day celebrations in 2019.
While there will be no examination in the course, it is a compulsory one across all classes-- from nursery to Class 12-- across all government schools. The manual instructs teachers not to their opinion, but let students come to their own conclusions when a sensitive subject is being discussed.
What Kids Think Patriotism is?
During their research, the team working on the curriculum asked children what they think 'Deshbhakti' or patriotism is. These were some of the answers--"To study sincerely", "Not to differentiate between caste and class among people", "Not to lie", "To save a bird", "To respect women", "to donate blood" and to "save water and electricity".
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