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Modi: Stretch yoga PhDs to foreign students

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed for Indian universities to promote PhD courses in yoga to foreign students, during preparations for the International Day of Yoga next month.

Modi has asked universities to promote PhDs in yoga to international students. Photo: Flickr/Herry Lawford.

The UGC has asked vice chancellors to nominate foreign students that may want to pursue postgraduate education in yoga to the Ayush Ministry

Modi made the request when chairing a committee to prepare for the International Day of Yoga on 21 June, during which he said Indian universities should protect India’s yoga heritage and promote high-quality courses in response to what he said are lower-quality offerings in Europe in the US.

“The PM desired an attempt be made to promote PhD courses in yoga for foreign students,””

“During discussions, the PM desired an attempt be made to promote PhD courses in yoga for foreign students,” Ajit M. Sharan, secretary of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy wrote in a letter to higher education secretary Vinay Sheel Oberoi after the event.

The Ayush Ministry has said it will offer fellowships to international students pursuing a PhD in yoga in the country.

The University Grants Commission, which oversees and regulates higher education in India, has subsequently issued a circular to the country’s 700 universities, requesting that they nominate foreign students that may want to pursue postgraduate education in the subject to the Ayush Ministry.

“You are requested to provide the details of such foreign students who want to pursue a PhD in this subject in your esteemed university directly to the Ministry of Ayush for it to consider an award of fellowship to such students,” Jaspal S Sandhu, UGC secretary, wrote in the circular.

A standard syllabus for the course has already been developed by a committee set up earlier this year by the Human Resource Development Ministry established a committee to look at how universities can better promote the study of yoga.

It follows a regulatory change last year mandating that all universities in the country recognise the annual International Day of Yoga.

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