Mumbai: Schools sway on holding Yoga Day

Many schools are still unclear about the event and may not celebrate it on Sunday

Confusion still prevails over the celebration of the International Yoga Day (June 21) at education institutes in the state. Many city schools are still unclear about the event. After receiving flak from some religious outfits about enforcing yoga in schools, the state education minister recently made it clear that the event is not compulsory.

Kids practise for International Yoga Day in Delhi. Pic/PTI
Kids practise for International Yoga Day in Delhi. Pic/PTI

“We were told that interested schools can organise Yoga Day. We are planning to do so, but not on Sunday. Instead we would like to inform our children about the importance of yoga and other forms of exercise. We will organise this some time next week,” said Rajesh Pandya, a senior teacher at Fatima Devi English Medium High School in Goregaon (East).

He added that most schools have refused to celebrate Yoga Day on Sunday. “Even those who want to hold the event in their school are feeling helpless, because not everyone can afford a yoga teacher and no help is coming forth from the education department,” he added.

B B Chavan, south zone education inspector, told mid-day that, while the department had previously assured a yoga training session for the physical training (PT) teachers for interested schools, but with no compulsion on celebrating the occasion schools have been given a free hand to decide on the matter.

“It’s not a compulsory event, so schools have been informed through circulars to take a call. The need for yoga instructors also doesn’t crop up as many schools are not organising any specific event,” said Chavan. He added that no schools have requested help either, so the department has not made any further arrangements.

While a handful of institutes are still confused, Fr Francis Swamy, coordinator of St Xavier’s School in Dhobi Talao, told mid-day that while their school is also not organising Yoga Day, yoga has been part of the state board curriculum for the past two years.

“Earlier, physical training was the only component. But for the past two years, yoga specifically has to be taught in schools. So, no school can complain that no training has been imparted. The education department has, time and again, conducted training sessions in schools for the same reason,” said Swamy.

As of now, most schools are depending on their PT teacher to train children in yoga, since most cannot afford to hire a separate instructor for it. “Yoga teachers are not covered by the state education department, so most schools have fallen back in this aspect, due to lack of funds,” he added.

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