AGARTALA: Tripura will become the second state after Gujarat to make yoga compulsory in schools. The state on Wednesday announced that yoga would be mandatory for students for students studying in Classes I to VIII from the new academic session beginning on January 1.
“We will introduce yoga in phases. In the first phase, 100 schools from across the state will be chosen,” state education minister Tapan Chakraborty said.
These schools will be selected from urban, rural and Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas. The decision was taken in a meeting of the council of ministers chaired by chief minister Manik Sarkar.
Some time ago, the state government had split the school education department into two: the directorate of elementary education (Classes 1 to VIII) and the directorate of education (to deal with Classes IX to XII).
“We have decided to introduce yoga to improve the mental and physical health of the students,” Chakraborty said. “Yoga at the elementary level will make our future generation disciplined,” he added.
The minister said the government would make arrangements for training teachers in yoga. “The departments of education, sports and youth affairs, health and TTAADC will help teachers learn yoga. Besides, we will also rope in professional organisations for proper implementation of the project,” he added.
Reaction among teachers and students was mixed. “It is a welcome move by the government and long overdue. We have often seen that yoga helps youngsters, especially teenagers, cope with challenges like mood swings,” said schoolteacher Kishor Datta.
Not all were as optimistic as him, however. “This is not what we needed now. Academic pressure starts right from Class VII and the yoga order will be another burden on us,” said Class VIII student Meenakshi Sarkar.
The opposition Congress was scathing and termed the decision a ‘gimmick’. “This is nothing but a move to cosy up with Narendra Modi. Manik Sarkar is trying to get closer to BJP through such orders,” alleged leader of the opposition, Congress’s Sudip Roy Barman. The state BJP lauded the order and said Sarkar was following in ‘pioneer’ Modi’s path. “We welcome the order,” said state party president Sudhindra Dasgupta.