UGC and HRD Ministry’s efforts in promoting the discipline of Yoga as a Career

Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline practiced by people in order to stay fit mentally and physically. The word itself means “Union”, of the body, spirit and mind. Regular practice of yoga grants multiple health benefits and medical science has acknowledged that the practice of yoga, asanas and pranayama together, can prevent many diseases.

Ever since the NDA government came to power in 2014, Yoga is being given a lot of importance. It has been introduced as a subject in school and university curricula and has also made it to the syllabi of IITs. Yoga is being taught at 52 institutions and about 16 offer an MA in the subject. Also it is Prime Minister Modi’s objective to promote Yoga all over the country.

It should be recalled that in order to celebrate the 2nd International Yoga Day, on June 21, 2016 the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had directed all the schools to include Yoga as an activity for assessment under the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE).

A circular was issued by CBSE where the instructions included that all the schools should organize mass yoga demonstration from 7-8 am in the school premises, on a voluntary basis for participation; that Yoga should be practiced least once a week early in the morning during assembly hour; that Yoga activity assessment should be put on student’s report card up to secondary level and that the assessment/grades be portrayed in the student’s annual report card. Some of the schools in the city are already grading students on yoga.

In a recent TOI report, Raj Aloni, principal, Ramseth Thakur Public School in Kharghar said,”Under the physical education subject, we have five options to select from and Yoga is one of them and we have picked that. So we are already evaluating the students on it.”

CISCE has also ordered that ICSE, ISC schools hold mandatory yoga classes. Moreover, the schools were given instructions to upload the day of Yoga activities on the official website of the school and send the report to CBSE office. A similar circular was issued on April 19 to schools affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations.

Further, in the circular, the CBSE has asked schools to send at least one of its education or Yoga teacher for a certification course. And this course will be organised by Quality Council of India with Ministry of AYUSH.

As a result of these ongoing efforts, the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Friday cleared a proposal to include Yoga in the National Eligibility Test (NET). Post graduates will now be able to get teaching jobs in Yoga now that it has been included in the eligibility test for college and university teachers. Inclusion in the NET will thus go a long way in promoting the discipline as a career option.

The recommendation had come from a panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yoga guru Nagendra, VC, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, to make it a more attractive career option for prospective teachers. The yoga committee had been set up by the HRD ministry in January, following a consultative meeting chaired by the then Union minister Smriti Irani. The human resources development (HRD) ministry and the UGC will now review the recommendations of the panel.

According to Nagendra, the outline of the course syllabus to be taught at the universities has been completed. The committee has recommended a yoga syllabi for a 4-year Bachelor’s course and a 2-year Master’s course in physiotherapy. It has pitched for six courses at various levels – including certificate, diploma, degree, post-graduate degree/diploma and research – to be launched at all central universities. As universities currently slot yoga under various disciplines such as sports, philosophy and education, it also recommended that a separate faculty – called yogic art and science – be created for it.

“There are a number of yoga paramparas (traditions) that are followed across the country. Our task was to put in place a syllabus that will be accepted by all universities and bring in greater uniformity in this regard. We recommend that it be taught at all universities. Also, we have prepared the syllabus for all the six courses that will be offered,” committee member Pundit Radheshyam Mishra, also the director of the Ujjain Yoga Life Society International said. He said that a report has been submitted to the UGC, and it will be given a final shape soon.

Mishra was tasked with preparing the syllabus for the certificate and diploma courses, while Patanjali Yogpeeth prepared the syllabus for the master’s degree in yoga.

“Since setting up a full-fledged faculty will take time, the committee has suggested the names of several yoga experts who can teach at the universities in the beginning,” Mishra said. A sub-committee will also be formed to prepare texts on yoga that can be published by the UGC and passed on to all central universities, he said.

In keeping with the ongoing efforts to promote yoga the UGC has also asked universities to include modules of yoga teaching and training in both the graduate and undergraduate courses Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in physiotherapy.

Ishita Roy, joint secretary in HRD ministry, had also written to the UGC secretary about the possibility of exploring the option of giving preference to candidates with requisite knowledge and expertise of yoga for admission to the Bachelor’s course in physiotherapy.

The panel also recommends the enrollment of experts from institutes such as Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth as guest lecturers at various universities, and pay them in accordance with the salary norms of the UGC.

To obtain a degree in Yoga the following courses can be pursued

B.A. Yogic Science and Human Consciousness
B.Sc. Yogic Science and Human Consciousness
Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic sciences (BNYS)
Certificate Course in Yoga and Alternative Therapy
Certificate Course in Yoga Education
Diploma In Yoga Education (DYEd)
Diploma in Yoga
M.A. Applied Yoga and Holistic Health
M.Sc. Yogic Science and Holistic Health
Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga
Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy and Spiritual Counselling
Post Graduate Diploma In Yoga And Naturopathy (PGDYN)
Yoga Teacher Training course (Yoga TTC)

Ph.D. Yogic Science can be pursued at:

International Academy of Suryanamaskar, Pune(Maharashtra)
Annamalai University Directorate of Distance Education, Annamalai Nagar (Tamil Nadu)
Bharathiar University School of Distance Education, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)
Bharathidasan University Centre for Distance Education, Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu)
Dr. Hari Singh GourVishwavidyalaya, Sagar (Madhya Pradesh)
Jiwaji University Institute of Distance Education, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh)
Kakatiya University School of Distance Learning and Continuing Education, Warangal (Telangana)
Nalanda Open University, Patna (Bihar).

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