To bridge the gap between values and actions, and ensure that constitutional ideals of equality, fraternity, and justice are practiced by children in their everyday lives, Delhi government chose the birth anniversary of iconic freedom fighter and youth symbol, Bhagat Singh to launch Deshbhakti Curriculum’ for its 1045 schools on September 28.
The subject to be introduced in all classes won’t have text books, instead stories of freedom fighters, freedom songs and activities will form the content. Students will also maintain ‘deshbhakti diary’, take vows to honor and respect the country and also study their favorite patriots. The pedagogical discourse of the curriculum has been based on the guiding principles of the national curriculum framework 2005 and follows child-centric and critical pedagogies. It focuses on connecting to children’s lives outside of school instead of being confined to textbooks and conventional assessment.
The ‘deshbhakti’ curriculum was announced during the annual budget session of the Delhi assembly in March this year, aiming to create patriotism and nationhood among the children studying in Delhi government schools.
The genesis of the idea about ‘deshbhakti’ curriculum goes back to Republic Day of 2019 when the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the idea. On September 25, 2019, he tasked the education department to formulate a framework on the brief of this curriculum that envisaged instilling pride od country in children, building awareness of responsibilities towards the country and a commitment to make sacrifice for the country. A committee chaired by Dr. Renu Bhatia, Principal, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidhyalaya Moti Bagh, and Sharda Kumari, former Principal, DIET R.K Puram made its recommendations based on wide consultations with students, teachers, parents, educators, civil society organisations and extensive literature review. And after about two years, on August 7 this year, State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) of Delhi adopted the framework of ‘deshbhakti’ curriculum.
Under the plan, 40-minute classes will be conducted every day for classes six to eight and twice a week for classes nine to 12. Starting the class with five minutes of “deshbahkti dhyan” (meditation), maintaining “deshbhakti diary”, Flag Day activity and exploring why “India is glorious but still not developed”. The children will be asked to take a vow to honour their country and preserve its respect. In the end, the students will be asked to think of five people who they consider patriots and thank them in their minds.
Facilitator’s handbooks have been designed for three cohorts — nursery to class five; classes six to eight and classes nine to 12 — and these will be used to inculcate patriotism among the students through simple activities. The facilitator’s handbooks for two cohorts — classes six to eight and nine to 12 — and 100 stories of freedom fighters and patriots are the starter. “Next year onwards, we will include 100 more and then another hundred after that. This would go on and on. Right from nursery to class 12, a child will be able to witness at least 700-800 stories and 500-600 patriotic songs and poems,” Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM who is also the education minister said.
The activity is aimed to establish a connect between students’ behaviours and the country. The idea is to make students realise that every act of theirs makes the country’s flag happy or sad. Each student will make his or her own flag at the start of the curriculum.
The teachers’ handbooks come with a set of “dos and don’ts” for conducting these classes they have been instructed not to criticise children’s answers to which they do not agree and not to present their personal thoughts or opinions as the correct answer; not to stop children from asking questions or cut them off and to listen to them with patience; not to stop discussions on sensitive topics or present their own views and let children form their own thoughts through the discussion.
The topics under patriotism curriculum include taking responsibility towards the country and its progress, constructive criticism, respect for and harmonious coexistence with others, critically thinking about issues confronting the country, comprehensive conception of patriotism, linking patriotism to the lived realities and everyday actions of students and working for the country’s development with pride and honesty.The students will be asked to maintain a new notebook or diary as “deshbhakti diary” which will be a reflective journal to document learnings, thoughts and feelings along the journey of the Deshbhakti Curriculum and will have notes related to the homework.
Speaking on the laugh event, CM Kejriwal said that patriotism can’t be taught, rather it is inherent in everyone. “Our effort is to make children self-aware and turn that diya (oil lamp) of patriotism in a flame. Our aim is to make students good citizens, nation builders, respectful to woman and against crimes,” he said while adding that this was a landmark moment in the history of country and this passion will spread to whole country.
#DeshBhaktiCurriculum is neither a Curriculum for moral preaching, nor for rote learning of historical facts.
This will inspire kids to imbibe the passion of great revolutionaries like Shaheed Bhagat Singh- who sacrificed his life for the country at just 23 🇮🇳
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) September 28, 2021
If you need to teach Deshbhakti, some thing is wrong. Patriotism comes from within, it isn't taught. Also, who guarantees if your ideologies won't be preached and marketed in the curriculum?
— Krish Kotecha (@KrishKotecha18) September 28, 2021