It was on the eve of the Independence Day in 2019 when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had first announced that his government would launch a new “Deshbhakti” (patriotism) curriculum from next year to develop a feeling of nationalism among the students.
Months later, as the party released its manifesto on Tuesday, the curriculum finds a mention in the 28-points promised by the Aam Aadmi Party for the 2020 Assembly election in the city.
While a senior AAP leader refused to say that the mention of the curriculum has anything to do with the opposition pushing nationalism in the elections, interestingly, the AAP’s manifesto does not have anything about education in particular but it speaks about the Deshbhakti curriculum.
The Aam Aadmi Party had, however, promised “world class education facility to be made available for each child” in its Guarantee Card scheme.
The manifesto said the party will introduce the curriculum after the success of the Happiness and Entrepreneurship Curriculum.
While announcing the curriculum on Tuesday, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisoida said it will enhance the love of the citizens with its nation, flag, army, martyrs along with fellow citizens and the system of the country.
“The curriculum will enhance the patriotism in individuals.”
Also, it is worth mentioning that Sisodia in August 2019 had launched a ‘Constitution at 70’ campaign’ for the students of the Delhi government schools, calling it the first phase of Deshbhakti Curriculum. The three-month campaign, which ended on November 26 — the date on which the Constitution was adopted 70 years ago — was aimed to inculcate the values of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Addressing the students, teachers and Principals of the Delhi government schools at the concluding ceremony of the “Constitution at 70” campaign, Kejriwal had said that his government has worked according to the Constitution, despite facing the obstacles.
He had said that if India implemented the Constitution for a day honestly, it will be number one in the world, adding his government faced so many problems as the Constitution was not fully implemented here.
To be implemented from the next academic year in all government schools, the Deshbhakti curriculum will be formed from the inputs of everyone, including parents and fellow citizens.
The idea of the curriculum came to Kejriwal while he was talking to his deputy Sisodia and the two decided that the “time has come to take concrete steps towards building a class of patriotic citizens”.
Kejriwal said that the purpose of introducing the curriculum was to develop true love for the nation.
“Ordinarily we are reminded of our love for the country either when there is an India-Pakistan match or when there are tensions on the border. In our day-to-day lives we forget about our country. The Deshbhakti Curriculum is being introduced so that each and every citizen of this country truly loves their country.”
He said when the children grow older and start working, and at any point if they accept a bribe, then they must feel from within that they are betraying the nation.
“When they jump a traffic light, they must feel they’ve wronged their country. We hear of so many incidents where foreign nationals come to India, they are faced with loot, assault, rape. When we hear stories of Indians returning from Japan, we only hear praise for the Japanese and their hospitality. That is our ideal, we have to love our country to the extent that we respect it and respect our guests.”
The Curriculum, Kejriwal said, is aimed at achieving three important goals.
“First, each and every child must feel pride for the nation. Children must be taught about the glories of the country. Second, each child must be made aware of their responsibility and duty towards the country. India has a hundred problems. We are poor, our farmers commit suicide. But who will solve these problems? It is us who will have to find solutions. Third, we have to instill among children the passion and commitment to be prepared to sacrifice anything for the nation.”
Kejriwal said the children have to realise that the problems the country is facing will have to be solved by all of us.
“We have to create a sense of ownership among all children that they have to take on the challenges we are facing as a country head on and address them.”
A team of teachers and principals from the city government school will design the curriculum after crowdsourcing ideas from across the country. It is likely to be implemented from April 1, if AAP is re-elected.
Delhi is going to polls on February 8 and the results will be declared on February 11.
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