Students of engineering colleges and technical institutes will have to take part in yoga, sports or other socially relevant activities in addition to their regular academics to be awarded a degree.
Earlier, the institutions had these activities, including National Social Service (NSS), National Cadet Corps (NCC) and the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, but these were not compulsory for earning a degree.
Now, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which governs more than 10,000 institutions having over 18 lakh students, has made these mandatory.
Students will have to ensure 25% attendance in one of these activities although there won’t be any marks for their performance.
Officials said the move will help in the holistic development of students.
“Apart from studies, students need to do other activities too which is good for their well-being and for the society too,” a senior AICTE official said.
Welcoming the move, Pooja Sharma, a BTech student, said unless it is made mandatory, students will not take it up.
For example, under the government’s flagship Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, which aims to uplift rural India, students will have to visit villages and engage with the rural folk to learn from their lifestyle.
“By doing yoga or sports they can take care of their health,” the official said.
The all India boards of studies was considering incorporation of yoga and value addition to the curriculum of engineering courses, the HRD ministry had said recently.
Last month, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had asked all universities and colleges to prioritise the celebration of the International Yoga Day (IYD), and submit proof of activities undertaken by students and faculty for review.
Under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA), the government aims to uplift rural India by enabling higher educational institutions to work with villages in identifying development challenges and finding solutions for enabling sustainable growth.
The NSS is a large-scale community service programme meant for the youth to engage with social problems and is run by universities across the country. Delhi University, for instance, took up the programme in 1969.