Finding that teachers were not enthusiastic about imparting the newly-introduced subjects of yoga education, value education and civic sense, the state education department has decided to conduct a week-long drive to raise teachers’ awareness about them, especially teachers of primary schools. These subjects were introduced in schools with an aim to change the outlook of the future generation and bring societal change. The education department has made it compulsory for all school teachers to attend the awareness campaign. These subjects being optional and carrying no marks, teachers have been neglecting their teaching and focusing on the subjects that count for overall performance of the students and their ranking. The education department wants the teachers not to neglect these subjects but handle them with the same seriousness they do the compulsory subjects. The awareness drive is aimed at making the teachers appreciate the importance of the subjects in the everyday life of the students and in creating responsible citizens.
Yoga has been introduced as it has been known to harmonize development of the body, mind and spirit. Practice of yoga helps in maintaining concentration, reducing stress and living in peace. It creates a feeling of being one with the environment. Yoga can help children deal with examination stress and physical stresses caused by long hours of sitting and studying or watching television. Value education can help students imbibe moral values. It can help in the integral growth of students, in developing moral restraint and healthy attitudes, in raising their awareness about national history, cultural heritage, constitutional rights, national integration, community development and environment. It is a pity to note that though literacy is so high in the state, people have been losing civic sense. Inculcating of civic sense is therefore necessary at the earlier stage of life. School children need to be helped to develop a strong civic sense. Their civic sense should be developed to such level that they become ambassadors to promote it in their homes and society.
This is not for the first time that value education has been introduced in the state. Some decades back value education was imparted in schools as moral science, which helped the students understand the surroundings around them and also to deal with others and develop as better citizens. Practice of yoga has been prevalent for centuries; it has survived without it being forced on others; those who practised it have kept it alive and kicking. It is only in the recent past that people around the world have accepted its global appeal and its relevance to their own well-being. Though students can achieve academic excellence by ignoring these subjects, it would be short term and neglecting them will not lead to their all-round development. The concept of education today is a ladder for career development. Schools, students and parents give more importance to excellence in academic studies; hardly anyone cares for civic values and physical exercises including yoga. By excluding value education and physical activity from the list of activities of students we are only making them vulnerable to various kinds of hazards. These subjects may not help one get highly paying jobs, they can surely help in dealing with the problems of one’s personal and social life.
School teachers should not have needed the education department’s whip to be motivated to take up teaching of yoga education, value education and civic sense subjects. However, teachers are human beings and can make wrong judgements and be negligent. It can be true for them not only with respect to these subjects but other subjects as well. In this regard the education department’s programme called ‘Shaala Siddhi’ (Complete understanding of school) for improving the quality of teaching is welcome. The programme, undertaken in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services, will assess teachers and schools for their performance. A teacher’s promotion will depend on how he fares in the annual assessment. The programme will be implemented on a pilot basis in three talukas, Bicholim, Pernem and Tiswadi, and would be extended to other nine talukas. Performance appraisal is important for keeping the teachers from turning lazy or negligent in their teaching and in their participation in other activities expected from or assigned to them by their school heads. However, the criteria for their and schools’ evaluation must be comprehensive, objective and transparent. They should not leave any room for prejudice, partiality and rivalry. If it is fair and objective, teachers should not mind being assessed, for it would be in their interest as well as students’.