In addition to celebrating a ‘Yoga Day’ every month, the school education department on Friday asked schools and colleges to hold five-day long yoga festivals every year. Criticising the department’s excessive focus on yoga, academicians said that such activities will eat into the teaching hours.
The education department issued two government resolutions (GRs) on yoga in one day, urging schools and colleges to celebrate yoga day on a monthly and annual basis. Both the GRs have asked all schools and colleges to organise a five-day festival from January 12 to 26 to promote yoga among the youth, every year, along with the token celebrations for the Yoga Day on June 21. Around 11 to 17 member panels have been set-up to plan the festival at district and zonal levels.
The resolutions were issued a couple of days after education minister Vinod Tawde announced that schools and colleges should celebrate yoga day on the 21 of every month. “There is no compulsion, if schools don’t want to hold the festival for five days they can even do it for a couple of days,” he said. On the other hand, academicians are upset that such extra activities will leave less time for studies. “This will increase the number of non-instructional days in the academic year, making it impossible for schools to meet the requisite amount of teaching hours and days stipulated in the RTE act,” Rajesh Pandya, senior teacher, Fatimadevi English High School, Kandivli and member of the Teachers Democratic Front said.
Under the RTE Act, 2009, there should be 220 working days for Classes 1 to 8 and 230 days for Classes 9 and 10. At present, most schools are only able to follow 200 working days due to the long list of holidays.
Few academicians also pointed out that instead of focusing on yoga, the department should first address the problems of students at hand.