New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi Tuesday officially launched its much-talked-about ‘Desh Bhakti curriculum’ in schools, aiming to instil a sense of patriotism among students and inspire them to be proud of India.
Though branded a ‘curriculum’, it is in effect a single subject that will be taught in 40-45 minute classes.
Launching the ‘curriculum’, which is meant for Delhi government schools, Kejriwal said the curriculum will invoke a feeling of patriotism in the students “who have been running after money” till now.
“We are preparing money machines in our colleges today. We have to stop this. A true ‘Desh Bhakt‘ is the one who works for the country, not for the money,” stated the Delhi CM.
“Till now, our education system prepared competent professionals like engineers and lawyers but now, we will prepare patriotic professionals through this curriculum,” he said, predicting that the idea will soon be adopted across the country.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, meanwhile, said the ‘curriculum’ “will not simply talk about patriotism, but instil a sense of patriotism in students”.
“It will not preach moral values. We will not expect students to memorise historical facts, but will expect them to introspect about their patriotism,” Sisodia said.
All classes — from nursery to Class 12 — will take the ‘curriculum’, but the teaching material and method have been designed differently for students of nursery to Class 8 and Classes 9 to 12. For now, the curriculum will be taught to students of Classes 9 to 12, for whom offline classes have resumed. The others will start the ‘Desh Bhakti‘ classes once school restarts for them.
School teachers ThePrint spoke to said Desh Bhakti classes will be conducted twice a week for students of Class 11 and 12, and daily at the lower grades. There will be no formal exam on the subject, but a more holistic assessment. The class will start with five minutes of meditation or mindful thinking, followed by students remembering the names and reminiscing on the deeds of five martyrs and freedom fighters. Teachers will talk to students about the personalities, their lives, and contributions.
“We have been clearly told that there will be no formal assessment for the course. It is being taught to students to let them know about our martyrs and freedom fighters and inculcate a sense of patriotism in students,” said a school principal who did not wish to be named.
The course material
The syllabus includes a book on “100 freedom fighters” from across the country. There are short profiles on Bhagat Singh, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru, apart from those with more regional popularity. A second book features chapters titled “Who is a Desh Bhakt”, “India of My Dreams” and “My Country, My Pride”.
Students will also be taught topics such as “Why is it important to be patriotic in today’s time?” and “Do we need patriotic policemen, engineers, doctors?”. Discussions will be held around these subjects and students will have to write their views.
Some questions about patriotism, which are already mentioned as part of the course, will be posed to students, and they will be asked their opinion on it. Taking responsibility towards the country and its progress, constructive criticism, critically thinking about issues confronting the country, linking patriotism to the lived realities and everyday actions of students, and working for the country’s development with pride and honesty, will be some of the other topics taught as part of the ‘Desh Bhakti curriculum’.
There is a separate book for teachers, detailing how the subject should be taught in class and the dos and don’ts.
Teachers who spoke to ThePrint on the new ‘curriculum’ said the instructions include being careful in their choice of words while teaching, and refraining from giving their opinions on any controversial topic.
“We have been told that teachers should let students decide what they think of a topic,” said a teacher who didn’t wish to be identified.
The methods teachers are expected to use to teach the subject in a more holistic manner include classroom discussion and reflection on a topic, class activities involving sharing views on a topic, and getting students to write letters relating to the subject matter.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)