Govt launches 'art of living' in colleges

The 24-session programme spread over six days was launched on February 17 in all government first degree colleges across the State in association with World Alliance For Youth Empowerment (WAYE) under the aegis of The Art of Living Foundation.

A circular to this effect was issued on February 11 by the Commissioner of Collegiate Education. The Maharani Arts College and the Government First Grade College at Varthur in Bangalore have successfully completed the course.

In the first phase of the programme, the government will spend Rs 600 on each of the 40,000 second year degree students. The total expenditure works out to Rs 2.4 crore.
Other students will be covered under Manavate in a phased manner. The course is not part of the curricula but it is mandatory for students to attend the sessions.

The stated aim of ‘Manavate’ is to empower youth and inculcate in them values such as truth, non-violence and integrity. A brief note on the department’s website says that the programme is to equip the youth to adapt to changes in the contemporary world of information explosion, consumerism and increased autonomy.

The department claims that the programme is in tune with the New Education Policy and recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

“The New Education Policy of 1986 envisages the inclusion of value education in the curriculum of higher education. Maintaining the health of the body, mind and soul is emphasised even by the World Health Organisation,” the note stated.

12 topics

The course content includes 12 topics — self awareness, effective communication skills, coping with emotions, coping with stress, disciplining the mind, interpersonal relationship skills, empathy, time management, leadership qualities, EMI - ethics, morality, integrity, health habits and environment, and global citizenship.

WAYE was founded by two IITians — Khurshed Batliwala and Dinesh Ghodke. Special Officer of the Collegiate Education Department, Dr Monica Ghosh, told Deccan Herald that WAYE had conducted similar programmes in Gujarat, Rajasthan and other states. “We are not collecting fee for this course from students. Instead, the government will pay us Rs 600 a student,” she said.

Many lecturers have opposed the programme because it takes away much of their teaching time in a highly packed semester system. In many colleges, students skip regular classes after completing the 4-hour session, they said.

A lecturer remarked that the government, by hiring a private agency for the “empowerment” programme, had only showed that its own education system was inefficient to help the youth to face the challenges of modern times.

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