BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay recently filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions from the Centre and the Delhi government to make the Science of Health and Yoga a compulsory part of the holistic child development curriculum until grade 8. Petitioner Considers that the right to health (art. 21) and the right to education (art. 21A) are mutually reinforcing. Therefore, in the spirit of Section 29 of the RTE Act 2009, it is the responsibility of the state to make ‘The Science of Health and Yoga’ a compulsory subject in the curriculum until Year 8.
In their petition, they claim that the right to health, guaranteed by Article 21, includes prevention, protection and improvement of health, and is a minimum requirement for children to live with dignity. Therefore, the state is not only constitutionally obliged to provide “health and yoga education” to children, but also to ensure that conditions fit for good health are created and maintained, Upadhyay said in PIL.
The petition further says it is necessary to state that three justices on the California Court of Appeals believe yoga is a secular activity, and the Supreme Court has expressed similar views in three cases. “Therefore, it is the duty of the state to provide standard health and yoga science textbooks for students in grades 1-8 in accordance with the spirit of Articles 21, 21A, 39, 47,” it added.
The petitioners argue that because of the RTE Act, the study of health and yoga science has become a right for children aged 6-14, and even after it was enacted, it still lives up to its name on the paper as the most neglected subject.
Health and yoga science are not scored in the annual exam, he said, and even teachers at the Vidyaraya and Navodaya schools in Kenya say it is not a required subject. They also stress that NCERT has not yet published a standard textbook on Health and Yoga Science for students in classes 1-8.
Thus, teaching health and yoga education in the spirit of NCF 2005 is a complete failure without a syllabus, standard textbooks, trained teachers, and graded assessments.
PIL said there is a complete dichotomy between the actual practice of yoga and the ideal, as the Prime Minister has suggested in his speech to the UN General Assembly.
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