A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in Delhi High Court seeking direction to make “Health and Yoga Science” a mandatory part of the curriculum for up to 8th Standard, for the overall development of children while also enhancing their knowledge, potential and talent, and development of their physical and mental abilities to the full extent as in the spirit of Section 29 of the Right To Education (RTE) Act 2009.
Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is a practising lawyer and a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader submitted “the Right to Health (Article 21) and the Right to Education (Article 21A) are complementary and supplementary to each other. Therefore, it is the duty of the State to make “Health and Yoga Science” a mandatory part of the curriculum up to the 8th Standard in spirit of S. 29 of the RTE Act read with Articles 21, 21A, 39, 47.”
The petitioner also submitted that “Yoga is a scientific and universal method, a tradition and culture of self-discipline, self-realization and self-revelation. It is not a ritualistic procedure or a sectarian bunch of knowledge; rather a medical science and life science. Besides being an excellent medical system, Yoga is a lifestyle for the integrated development of life.” “After enactment of the RTE Act, the study of Health and Yoga Science has become a right of the children of age group 6-14 years. But it has remained named-sake on papers and is the most neglected subject,” the petition said further.
It said that the marks are not awarded for Health and Yoga Science during the annual exam and even the teachers of Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navoday Schools say that Health and Yoga Science is not a compulsory subject. The petitioner also submitted that NCERT has not published the standard textbooks for ‘Health and Yoga Science’ for the students of Classes I-VIII, yet. Therefore, without syllabus and standard textbooks, and without trained teachers and evaluation of marks, there has been a total failure in imparting the Health & Yoga education to them, in view of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005.
Yoga helps to cure psychosomatic diseases, improve comprehension ability, power of memory and concentration and relax stress, tension and anxiety. All these are the factual findings from many studies. National Focus Group (NFG) has thrown special light on these points in their Position Paper on Health and Physical Education.
“Realizing the need and utility of yoga education, NCERT should provide standard textbooks for the students of Classes I to XII. The objective of yoga education should be to impart practical-theoretical instructions and training of Yoga at primary levels in such a way that it may be linked to health and physical education, awareness of diseases value-based education and students may develop a complete understanding of these things,” stated the plea.