Instead of books, teachers asked to rely on discussions

From talks about freedom fighters and children’s dreamland to issues such as gender, caste and religious discrimination, and poverty, the Delhi government’s new Deshbhakti program aims to cover ground substantial.

To implement the program in the classrooms, two separate teaching manuals have been designed, one for students in grades VI to VIII and the other for grades IX to XII. For both groups of students, the basic chapters are the same: love and respect for the country; who is a deshbhakt; deshbhakti; my country, my pride; why is my country not developed; and the India of my dreams.

The course will not have textbooks and the teacher will play the role of facilitator of the discussions by introducing each topic with a central question in which the children will express their ideas and points of view. As homework, children will also be given questions on the topic to ask older people around them, including their families, and will have to discuss the topic again with the ideas and answers they have received.

Teachers’ manuals come with a set of “dos and don’ts” for conducting these lessons; they were instructed not to criticize children’s responses with which they disagree and not to present their personal thoughts or opinions as the correct answer; not to prevent children from asking or cutting questions and to listen to them with patience; not to stop discussions on sensitive topics or to present their own points of view and to let the children form their own thoughts through the discussion. For example, an exploration of a critical topic – “Mera Bharat mahaan phir bhi viksit kyun nahi” – for grades IX to XII will begin with teachers explaining the concept of developed, developing and underdeveloped countries, then asking the question. : “In your everyday life, what are the difficulties that you meet or see around you facing that prevent India from being a developed country? Each child should share their thoughts with the class and the teacher should encourage them to think about the problems of their neighborhood and their city. As homework, they should ask the same question of three older people, including a family member, and in the next class they should form groups and present the answers they have received.

Teachers were asked to encourage them to also talk about the following issues if they are not addressed in the discussions: unemployment, poverty, inflation, gambling, lack of good schools, colleges and hospitals, superstition, marriage and working for children. children, dowry, families distinguishing the rights of boys and girls, casteism, struggles for religion and the region, contempt for one’s mother tongue, consumption of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, pollution, lack of electricity and potable water. For grades 6 to 8, there are simple topics such as “Mera flag, mera saathi” but also complex topics, like respect for the people of the country under the larger topic “Respect for the country”. The teacher should ask the children, “Do you respect all the people in the country? and lead to a more complex question: “Do you respect the men and women of the country equally?” Do you respect people of all religions, castes and economic classes equally? This will be followed by a discussion on whether they see women and people of all faiths treated with respect, at home and in public places.

The 40-minute lessons are to be conducted daily for grades 6-8 and twice a week for grades 9-12. Each class will begin with a 5-minute activity called “Deshbhakti Dhyaan” in which teachers urge students to run the lines. “Main apne desh ko pranaam karta hoon / naman karta hoon. Mai apni Bharat Mata ka aadar karta hoon “through their minds and then ask the children to take vows to honor their country and preserve its respect. Next, the children should think of five people whom they consider to be” deshbhakt ” and thank them in their minds.