The proposal of the Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani to introduce yoga as a compulsory subject in schools has met with opposition from many city school heads. Physical training and sports-oriented activities are offered on the campus and making yoga compulsory would not not be viable, they said.
Although the school heads say that yoga may be helpful for the overall development of a child and can help students relieve stress, they say it should not be imposed upon children.
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ABS Sidhu, principal of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, said, “We do not have anything against yoga but we are unhappy over the hype created over it. Every school provides some kind of physical training to students starting from the primary classes and a several options of games such as cricket, basketball etc. We have 10 creative clubs for students and 75 per cent of them are sports-oriented. For students of Classes IX and X, we have yoga classes as well, so I do not see a valid reason to impose it as a compulsory subject.”
Schools should have the freedom to decide if yoga should be made compulsory, said Kavita Das, principal of St John’s School, Sector 26. “As we already have a lot of physical activities for the boys, making Yoga compulsory will limit the other areas of interest. We have particular hours for everything and adding another compulsory subject is not viable,” she added.
CBSE schools are already teaching yoga informally in the schools and as per the continuous and comprehensive evaluation guidelines, it is optional for the students to learn yoga, karate and so on. Students of Classes VI-VIII are awarded grades for their participation in physical education.
Principal of AKSIPS School, Sector 41, Jagjeet Sekhon, said, “Yoga is already a part of our school, our children perform it in the morning assemblies as it has its own advantages and can help maintain the health of the students but imposing a subject does not sound practical.”
School heads of government schools, too, had a similar view. “We do not have any problems with the subject but making it compulsory is not the alternative,” said a government school principal.
Vinod Kumar Sharma, principal of Government Model High School, Sector 34, however, said that keeping in view the lifestyle of children now, where they hardly get time to do any physical activity after school, yoga should be made a part of curriculum. “A foresighted policy should be introduced where 40 minutes of a lecture is dedicated to yoga and around 15 asanas are performed each day.”
UT education secretary Sarvjit Singh said simple exercises that help in relaxing the body and mind in a few minutes was not a bad idea.