NEP 2020: National Curriculum Framework for School Education Released To Develop Technology-Driven Educational System

New Delhi: Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday released the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF-SE) as an important step towards the implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The development of NCF-SE was guided by a vision to align education with the demands of 21st century and the ethos of Indian knowledge system. A steering committee, headed by Prof. K Kasturirangan, was formed to create a curriculum aligned with NEP 2020, emphasising the 5+3+3+4 design of schooling.

NCF-SE addresses the entire educational journey, from foundational to secondary stages, introducing multidisciplinary education, nurturing values, fostering creative pedagogies and preparing students for practical problem-solving.

Addressing the 1st Joint workshop of National Curriculum Framework Oversight Committee and the National Syllabus and Teaching-Learning Material Committee, Pradhan said the world has high expectations from India.

“In order to live up to our global responsibilities, we have to develop technology-driven educational system that meets expectations of the world’s community alongside India,” he added, highlighting the framework’s role in shaping a holistic, contemporary and Indian-rooted educational landscape.

He said efforts are on to make new textbooks available from the next academic year.

“The textbooks for class 3-12 to be aligned with 21st Century requirements, making them rooted and futuristic,” Pradhan said.

Following are the key points of NCF-SE:

* Comprehensive curriculum framework covering all 4 stages of schooling: NCF-SE comprehensively covers all the four stages of schooling. The NCF-SE has articulated the learning standards to be achieved and the principles for selection of content, pedagogy, and assessments for achieving the learning standards.

* Enable real improvement in practice of education in the country: NCF-SE is designed to enable and help actual change in practice on the ground. Conscious and deliberate efforts have been made to communicate to all stakeholders in school education including curriculum and syllabus developers, so that it is useable in practical circumstances. Teachers and parent community can also comprehend the intention of the curricula that is developed on the basis of NCF-SE.

* Learning standards with clear, specific, and rigorous flow-down: It articulates specific learning standards for all school subjects that gives clear direction for action for all stakeholders in the school system, particularly teachers. The learning standards have defined specific competencies to be achieved at the end of each stage for each school subject. There is a clear, specific, and rigorous flow-down of curricular logic from the broad aims of school education to specific curricular aims of each subject, resulting in curricular goals and competencies for a specific stage in that subject.

* Development of knowledge, capacities and values: The curriculum focuses on development of knowledge with genuine understanding, fundamental capacities such as critical thinking and creativity, and constitutional and human values.

* Empowering teachers and schools: NCF-SE is designed to enable and empower teachers and schools for the full flowering of their creativity and enhanced engagement.

* Engaging and effective pedagogy: It enables the entire range of age and context appropriate pedagogy, from play-based, activity-based, inquiry-based, dialogue based, and more. This would also use effective, widely available, and highly engaging teaching-learning-material, including textbooks.

* Transforming assessment including exams: Assessment and exams at all levels to be transformed, to enable genuine learning and reduce stress, including the Board exams.

* Importance of school culture: School culture and practices are to be developed as an integral and important part of the curriculum.

* Rooted in India: The curriculum is rooted in India and is informed by the wealth of Indian knowledge and thought on education. Contributions to the knowledge in various disciplines by Indians from the ancient to contemporary times have been integrated into the curricular goals of all school subjects.

* Multidisciplinary education: All children to go through multidisciplinary education to develop an integrated and holistic perspective and learning.

* Equity and inclusion: NCF-SE is informed by principles to ensure equity and inclusion in all its aspects, from content and pedagogy, to, school culture and practises.

* Emphasis on art and physical education & well-being: The school subjects of Art Education and Physical Education & well-being are given a renewed emphasis in the curriculum by defining specific learning standards to be achieved and recommended time allocation in the school timetables. Art Education encompasses both visual arts and performing arts and has equal emphasis on making, thinking about, and appreciating artwork. Physical Education and Well-being gives emphasis to sports, mind-body wellness through practices like Yoga, and ideas on incorporating traditional Indian games and sports into the curriculum.

* Environmental Education: Responding to the triple challenge of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, and the criticality of environmental awareness and sustainability in today’s world, Environmental Education is given due emphasis across all stages of schooling culminating in a separate area of study in the Secondary Stage.

* Vocational Education: NEP 2020 has made strong recommendations for Vocational Education to be an integral part of school education and NCF-SE has included specific learning standards, content, pedagogy, and assessments for Vocational Education for all stages of schooling. The curriculum proposes engagement in the three different forms of work – work with life forms (agriculture, animal husbandry), work with materials and machines, and work in human services.

* Multilingualism and Indian languages: NCF-SE has given necessary emphasis on multilingualism and on learning languages native to India. Given the rich multilingual heritage of India, it expects all students to be proficient in at least three languages, at least two of which are native to India. It expects students to achieve a ‘literary level’ of linguistic capacity in at least one of these Indian languages.

* Conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in mathematics: School subjects of mathematics & computational thinking have emphasis on conceptual understanding along with procedural fluency – with a goal to appreciate the beauty and universality of mathematics and reduce fear of the subject. Higher order curricular goals such as problem solving, mathematical thinking, coding, and communication are given due importance.

* Capacities for scientific inquiry: Science education emphasises the development of capacities for scientific inquiry along with acquiring knowledge of fundamental theories, laws, and conceptual structures of science in disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics and Earth science.

* Interdisciplinary understanding of social science through themes: Social science curriculum expects students to systematically study human societies and explore the relationships between individuals, society, the natural environment, social institutions, and organizations. This is to be studied through themes in an interdisciplinary manner in the Middle Stage and developing disciplinary depth in the Secondary Stage.

* Flexibility and choice in secondary stage: The secondary stage has been significantly redesigned to offer more flexibility and choice for students. There are no hard separations between academic and vocational subjects, or between science, social science, art, and physical education. Students can choose interesting combinations of subjects for receiving their school-leaving certificates.

* Interdisciplinary Areas of Study: Interdisciplinary areas of study have been introduced as a separate subject of study in the Secondary Stage. In this subject, students develop the ability to reason about contemporary challenges using knowledge from multiple disciplines including moral and ethical concerns. They are expected to use these abilities to understand and respond effectively to the concerns of environmental degradation that include climate change and biodiversity loss.

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