A new school that will be built in the Indian city of Chennai will start teaching students how to be happy. The school’s primary goal is to make sure the students are happy. Preparing for standardized tests is not going to be part of the curriculum. According to Vivek Reddy, the school’s cofounder, the idea is inspired by the realization that happiness is after all the foundation of all human achievements.
Reddy says that it’s only when we feel good about ourselves that we can be the best we can in all other spheres of our lives including academics. The school’s founders also don’t have any background in education. They are all entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses and they think that the traditional view of schooling is no longer aligned to the needs of modern society. They simply want to take a different approach.
The school’s architect Danish Kurani says that when you think of a typical school, the most important thing is the acquisition of knowledge. However, many schools don’t really focus on building the student’s character. Students are only gauged on how they perform in class.
The new modern school is prioritizing character development above anything else. It’s an institution that wants to build personalities and cultivate a culture of happiness and compassion among students. The founders believe that students who have such an attitude will go out and do good in the world. The proposed campus will target both middle and high school levels of education.
Although it’s located in Chennai, the construction site is in a rural area away from the metropolis. The goal is to create a village style campus. The design is inspired by a long-running Harvard study conducted over the last 80 years. The study showed that happiness was a product of relationships between people. The Harvard study also found that people who lived in a village style campus were able to cultivate strong relationships and this led to a more fulfilling and happy life.
Intriguingly, although the school campus has all the amenities students need, there is also farmland where anyone interested can engage in farming activities. The students will also be taught how to live a happy life using ancient Hindu texts and philosophical resources like Vedas.
The school’s founders believe that happiness can be controlled by the mind. This is contrary to the traditional view that our environment affects our happiness. In light of this, the students will be taught how to train their minds so that they can be happy and fulfilled.
There will not be any standard curriculum either. Students will be allowed to decide what they want to learn and pursue learning through experience. The faculty members will act as mentors and coaches. Their job will be to help students think independently and to expose them to a broad range of subjects that are of interest.