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SC questions enforcing 'Hindu' prayers in Kendriya Vidyalayas: Should there be prayers in schools at all?
A PIL has been admitted by the Supreme Court contesting the mandated Hindi and Sanskrit prayers with religious connotations being practiced in the government-funded Kendriya Vidyalayas dotting the country since the contender views it as violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution under Articles 25 & 28.

The issue will be heard by the apex court, but there is need to look at the view-point advocated by various educators and thinkers regarding the practice of prayer recitals in schools. There is a school of thought that holds that religious faith and prayers are personal and private, and educational institutions need to respect cultural and religious diversity of learners by making social foundation of the school faith neutral. The schools must limit their educational practice to facilitate and support the humans' innate potential irrespective of their cultural, social, gender and religious diversity.

The social-psychology and educational-psychology also suggest that prayers in schools promote belief thinking; control through conditioning and mandatory uniformity and similarity. It has been suggested that diversity needs to be respected and professional commitment for inclusive education should be met with by the educational system. If one goes by these suggestions, it seems that prayers in schools do not have intrinsic pedagogical validity.

In some democratic countries the school prayers all kinds have been prohibited. For example France calls itself the 'religiously neutral state' or 'laique' and even public servants are supposed to keep their religious faith private. According to Wikipedia, 'the French law on secularism and conspicuous religious symbols in schools goes beyond restricting prayers in schools and bans the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols by pupils in public primary and secondary schools'. Even in Canada, there is no state-mandated school prayer and even a school-sponsored prayer is disallowed under the concept of 'freedom of conscience' as outlined in the Canadian Charter on Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

I think that the prayers in schools are the futile institutional habits either prescribed by the system or by the institution and are anti-learning since they are based on belief-thinking which are needed to be kept out of educational system and institution. The prayers promote lowest order belief thinking and mechanical recitation whiles the purpose of schools to develop to critical and creative thinking.

The quality of school education in most countries has been rated unsatisfactory because of the conditions and circumstances prevalent in them. We must improve the schools for sake of our future as Mark Twain has rightly pointed out: "Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer."

However, the issue is being considered by the Supreme Court of India and its decision would be judicious and a welcome one!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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