New Delhi: Secretary of School Education and Literacy, HRD Ministry, Subhash Chandra Khuntia, while inaugurating the first Yoga Olympiad said yoga will be encouraged in schools under the new education policy being framed by the government.
Participated by 350 students from 22 states, the three-day event at NCERT campus here is aimed at popularising the ancient practice among school children across the country.
Yoga will have a "significant" place in the new education policy being framed by the government, Khuntia said.
Terming Yoga as an art of "maintaining balance" and ensuring "well being" of mind and body, he said that the Olympiad will be held every year to ensure that every school- going child learns it for holistic development.
"Yoga Olympiad will be held every year to enable participation of all states with an aim that school children learn Yoga. NCERT has published books on Yoga for upper primary and secondary students. It is part and parcel of National Curriculum Framework and compulsory for classes VI to X," he said.
He said that there were certified Yoga teachers in major schools but where they are not available, physical education teachers are being trained with the help of Yoga institutes.
The Director of National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT), Hrushikesh Senapaty, said that Yoga can help in preparing good human beings and citizens.
"We are acknowledged in the world for producing good professionals and Yoga can help us to produce good individuals and citizens," he said.
The theme of the Olympiad is 'Yoga for Health and Harmony'.
The students participating in the National Yoga Olympiad were first selected at the block level followed by district level and then state level competitions.
The 16 finalists, four boys and four girls at upper primary level and as many at the secondary level, are competing before a jury which will assess their performance.