The University Grants Commission (UGC) has mandated the introduction of courses based on Indian heritage and culture, including ‘Vedic’ Mathematics, Sanskrit, Yoga, Ayurveda, Astrology, Indian Ethics, Philosophy, Music, Dance, and other forms in all universities and higher educational institutions (HEIs), in an effort to “attract international learners to India.” Some subjects, like astrology, have drawn criticism for the selection.
In pursuance of the National Education Policy (NEP- 2020), “which lays emphasis on the promotion of Indian heritage and culture”, the UGC is planning to introduce the above courses in HEIs, says the order. The UGC also released the guidelines in this regard and asked all the HEIs to take the necessary steps as per the guidelines to start such courses.
It also recommends the inclusion of disclosure with Acharyas, confluence with religious devotees (satsanga), exposure to folk cultures, and visits to famous places as part of the progarmmes.
Why this course
“Indian civilization is one of the most ancient civilizations in the world and it is a universally acknowledges fact that Indians have made a remarkably great contribution to every sphere of knowledge. Indian Universities of the ancient period like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila, Vallabhi, etc were internationally recognized centres of learning where students from across the world used to visit to get themselves equipped with pedantry in various streams of knowledge.
Now the instant scheme has been conceived to realign acquaintances from various countries worldwide with this Indian Knowledge system and cultural heritage,” the UGC said.
These courses are short-term multi-tier credit-based modular programmes with multiple entry and exit options. Every programme is of a 60-hour duration that may be offered in online or offline mode.
Criticism on choices
However, some of the courses offered by the UGC, such as Astrology, have drawn criticism from educationists. Speaking to the Hindu, S.G. Siddaramaiah, retired professor and writer, said in the name of introducing Indian heritage and culture to international students, the Union government was thrusting many ideas that are against the very spirit of the secular constitutions.
Courses to be introduced
Indian culture, Indian ethics, ‘Vedic’ mathematics, Astrology, Ayurveda, Yoga, Indian Philosophy, Indian music, Indian dance, Indian percussion and vocal music, Holy geographical regions of India, Archaeological sites of India, Indian arts and architecture, Cultural heritage of India, Indian folklore, Indian stage, Indian drama, Sanskrit drama, Indian inscription, Indian Manuscript system, Indian script, Indian rituals, Indian food and fashion, Sanskrit language and literature, Prakrit, Hindi, Kannada and other Indian language and literature.
(Source: The Hindu)
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