The state education department has ordered teachers and students of government schools across Punjab to come to the school on June 21 and mark the third International Yoga Day.
In a written order issued by the office of Director General of School Education (DGSE), which was sent to all primary and secondary district education officers (DEOs) and school heads on Monday, the teachers have been reminded that even though summer vacations are on, they have to come to the school on June 21 to observe Yoga Day. More so, schools have to ensure that maximum number of students also participate.
The order specifies that directions in this regard have been received from the MHRD.The order addressed to DEOs in Punjabi said, “As per the letter received from MHRD, the third International Day of Yoga is being observed on June 21. In this regard you are requested to issue orders to school heads across state that they must observe Yoga Day on June 21. School heads must also ensure maximum participation of school staff and students in observing the Yoga Day.”
However, the order does not specify how exactly the day has to be observed. Also, the teachers claim that gathering students at the last minute would be a problem. Most government schools have now decided to take help from local gurudwaras to make announcements to let students know.
A government teacher from Ludhiana said, “It is basically going to be a photo opportunity like the last two years. Most of the students either are out of town during vacations or do not prefer to attend. We are not trained yoga practitioners who can guide them. Just photos will be clicked to mark our attendance and sent to the DEO office. It is not going to fulfil the real purpose of observing Yoga Day.” Another teacher said, “We would be getting it announced through gurdwaras that students have to come to school on June 21. We got a mail about it today itself.” “It is complete harassment. Now, how can we inform students during vacations,” said a principal.
Inderjit Singh, DPI (elementary education), Punjab, said, “I have not seen the order yet, but it is something in line with the orders from the central government. There is no harm in doing yoga or coming to school for a day if an initiative is being taken by the government.”