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Citizenship education in schools

Last Updated : 12 October 2021, 00:30 IST

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The Delhi state government introduced the 'deshbhakthi' curriculum in all government and aided schools on September 28, on the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh. The move was aimed to instil a sense of patriotism, develop respect for constitutional values and bridge the gap between values and action. The curriculum also emphasises the responsibilities and duties that one must have towards the country.

Knowledge, values and behaviour are three themes highlighted in this novel educational initiative. The expected learning outcome is to develop self-awareness, self-confidence and problem-solving skills. The move can also promote pluralism, diversity, environmental sustainability, collaborativeness, ethical behaviour, social and civic responsibility and participation — all of which are essential to build a thriving nation.

Non-examinable subjects

While students learn various aspects of Indian democracy, history, economics, the constitution and fundamental rights and duties, the scope is limited to scores in examinations. However, patriotism is not an examinable subject. It is an assessment made by trained faculty. From nursery to Class 8, 40 minutes is allotted. For senior secondary classes, two periods a week have been set aside.

In 2018, the state school administration introduced a happiness curriculum as a new co-curricular discipline but it didn’t take off due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Happiness curriculum, like education in citizenship, is a non-examinable subject.

No doubt, education is a powerful tool to impact and empower individuals, society for futuristic and sustainable development of any country. But the main goal of all human activities and endeavours seems to be seeking happiness. The Delhi government has taken steps to encourage patriotism along with happiness as twin co-curricular learning.

Controversy

Patriotic education was controversial during President Donald Trump’s reign in the USA. Through his election manifesto, Trump wanted to ensure that students love America. Does that mean schools should not teach the history of oppression and slavery in the country and prevent them from knowing America’s history of racism? This caused much controversy when Trump formed a new commission to support Patriotic Education.

For many incumbents, patriotic education is a form of political education either to retain or capture power. Patriotism and nationalism have different connotations.

(The writer is the principal of a school in Udupi)

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Published 12 October 2021, 00:30 IST

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