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Happiness classes in Andhra Pradesh schools comes a cropper

VIJAYAWADA: Happiness classes, rechristened Ananda Vedika, it seems, is not happy at all, as the students are merely confined to theoretical lectures given by the teachers.

In fact, as the teachers have not received the handbook of Happiness Curriculum, the 30 mins of the Happiness classes are being wound up in less than 15 minutes. The no-bag-day, which is scheduled to be held in government schools on first and third Saturdays is not being implemented in many schools due to a shortage of staff, as the teachers are finding it difficult to make the students take part in activities monitored by them.

During a visit by TNIE, to Karnati Rammohan Rao Municipal School, in Vijayawada city on Saturday, it was found that the teachers were reluctant to take Happiness classes. During the morning assembly, students sat in the ground in silence for three minutes.

Later, for the next 10 minutes, the teachers motivated the students with their own motivational theories rather than with the much-hyped happiness curriculum, designed by the experts.In fact, the students too were unaware of the happiness classes and the intention behind holding the happiness classes. The teachers, who take the classes also are yet to receive the modules of Happiness curriculum.

Speaking to TNIE, VS Manmadha, a biology teacher, who took the happiness class for the Class X students said, “We didn’t receive the complete curriculum. Only few lessons we got and I have sent those for being photocopied for other teachers.”

In fact, the Happiness curriculum idea was brought up by the TDP government and they wanted to implement that from the academic year 2019-20. Even the new government went ahead with it, but renamed it as Ananda Vedika and started to implement it in all government schools from last week. The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has developed the curriculum, based on the Delhi model; Delhi schools have already implemented it. The officials retained 30 percent of the Delhi curriculum and developed 70 per cent of the curriculum after discussions with Bhutan Education Council with an expert team from them coming over and other subject experts from across the country.

Under this initiative, the students will be learning about mindfulness, understanding their thoughts and emotions, empathy, communication, creative thinking, decision making, interpersonal relationships etc. All the students will be taking Happiness curriculum as their first class of the day in the school so that they can start learning things in a positive and mindful way.

Similarly, another initiative of the State government is ‘no bag day’ on Saturdays. Though this initiative has been proposed by the new government, it still lacks implementation.  As part of the ‘no bag day’, on first and third Saturdays, the students needn’t carry their bags and books to the schools, instead they will be taking part in games, sports, cultural activities etc on that specific day.  However, a few schools have failed to implement it due to shortage of staff.

Currently, only Municipal schools, from Classes 1 to 5 are only implementing this no bag day, since the orders from the officials are yet to be released.In Karnati Ramamohana Rao school, the students carried the bags on Saturday as they would on any other day, but the teachers made them take part in various activities.

On the other hand, schools like Boyapati Siva Rama Krishnaiah Municipal School and Tadepalli Raghava Narayana Sastry Municipal Elementary school in the city, did not take up observance of the  no-bag day, because of staff shortage.

Speaking to TNIE, K Ravi Kumar, Deputy EO of Krishna district said, “Ananda Vedika is being implemented in all schools and the teachers are also trained.

The no-bag-day is being implemented in Municipal schools only from Classes 1 to 5.

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