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Melania Trump to attend ‘happiness class’ at a govt school in Delhi

February 21, 2020 05:19 AM

COURTESY HT  FEB 21 Melania Trump to attend ‘happiness class’ at a govt school in Delhi

Melania Trump
HT Correspondent

New Delhi : US First Lady Melania Trump is likely to visit a Delhi government school on February 25 to interact with students being taught the “happiness curriculum” introduced by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, officials familiar with the matter said on Thursday. US President Donald Trump and his wife will arrive in India on February 24 for a two-day visit.

On Monday (February 24), the US first couple will spend their first day in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad and Uttar Pradesh’s Agra after which they will move to Delhi for the official reception and bilateral talks.

On Tuesday (February 25) morning, the US first lady is likely to visit a Delhi government school in South Delhi.

When asked about preparations for the visit, officials familiar with the matter said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the city’s education minister, are likely to welcome the First Lady at the school. They will also give her a brief tour of the school campus, which will be followed by her interaction with the students.

Melania Trump’s school visit is likely to be shorter than an hour, but it will give the Delhi government an opportunity to showcase the ‘happiness curriculum’ in one of its model schools, which has become a popular site for the Arvind Kejriwal government to offer guided tours to visiting dignitaries and eminent personalities.

The AAP government, which won assembly elections this month with a landslide, introduced the happiness curriculum in its schools in July 2018.Nursery and kindergarten students are taught the curriculum twice a week and students from classes 1 to 8 spend one period a day in meditation, storytelling and other activity sessions. The curriculum includes question-answer sessions.

In most of the classrooms where the curriculum is imparted, the walls are decorated with several colourful posters made by the students. The posters often lists ‘12 ways to happiness’. Among the lessons taught is a short story titled ‘Bada Aadmi’ [A Big Man], a tale about a boy learning from his father the value of sacrifice for loved ones.

Senior functionaries involved in organising the event said that the Kejriwal dispensation had also put in a request for the First Lady to visit one of its flagship mohalla, or neighbourhood, clinics.

“The government has a guided tour in the name of ‘AAP dekho’ which is given to all interested important personalities and VIPs. The tour includes visiting a mohalla clinic and one of our schools where teachers and students share personal anecdotes on their experience with the happiness curriculum. But, the First Lady will only visit the school,” one functionary said on condition of anonymity.

The unique curriculum has gained such popularity and success that states such as Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, Nagaland and Kashmir are trying to replicate the course in their schools. Launched by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, the course has also won appreciation in Bangladesh.

Former principal of DPS RK Puram, Shayama Chona said the happiness curriculum is an important tool to de-stress students.

“It (the curricula) helps in improving the emotional quotient (EQ) of students and EQ is actually the baseline of intelligence quotient. It is a good thing also because ‘happiness’ leads to optimism. In India we have been following the Macaulay system always. Why not give a clapping hand to anything which is other than mugging up?” said Chona, who is a Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awardee.

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