India’s Union Education Ministry on Wednesday launched a new curriculum framework making substantial changes in school education including conducting board examinations twice a year and allowing students to retain the best score.
The ministry termed the launch of the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF-SE) as an “important and transformative step” towards the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP).
“Board exams will be offered at least twice a year to ensure students have time and opportunity to perform well. Students can then appear for a board exam in subjects they have completed and feel ready for. They will also be allowed to retain the best score,” said the ministry.
As per the new framework, the choice of subjects in classes 11 and 12 will not be restricted to streams, students to get the flexibility to choose. The new framework for school education is in sync with National Education Policy 2020 (NEP)
“Class 11 and 12 students need to study two languages, and at least one language must be Indian. Additionally, textbooks are to be developed for 2024 academic session,” said the ministry.
This NCF has divided the school curriculum into four Stages as per the recommendation of NEP2020.
As per the curriculum, four National Curriculum Frameworks (NCFs) are based on the 5+3+3+4 ‘curricular and pedagogical’ structure that NEP 2020 has recommended for school education.
The NCF has been revised four times – in 1975, 1988, 2000 and 2005. The new proposed revision is the fifth of the framework. The pre-draft was been prepared by a committee headed by K Kasturirangan, former ISRO Chief.
The Board examinations for Grades 10 and 12 have been be substantially reformed.
“These (examination) will be made ‘easier’ — the Board examinations will primarily aim to assess understanding and achievement of Competencies rather than months of coaching and memorisation. To further eliminate the ‘high stakes’ aspect of Board examinations, all students will be allowed to take Board examinations on at least two occasions during any given school year, with only the best score being retained,” the framework read.
The ministry emphasized that 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 ancient to contemporary times have been integrated into the curricular goals of all school subjects,” the ministry said.
As per the framework, all children will have to go through multidisciplinary education to develop an integrated and holistic perspective and learning.
Under the new framework, Environmental Education is given due emphasis across all stages of schooling culminating in a separate area of study in the Secondary Stage to respond to the triple challenge of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, and the criticality of environmental awareness and sustainability.
The ministry said that the NCF-SE is designed to enable and help actual change in practice on the ground.
“The NCF-SE has made a conscious and deliberate effort 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 the NCF-SE,” the ministry said.
The ministry claimed that the new framework will articulate specific learning standards for all school subjects that give clear direction for action for all stakeholders in the school system, particularly Teachers.
Under the framework, interdisciplinary Areas of Study have been introduced as a separate subject of study in the Secondary Stage.
The ministry informed that in the new framework, there are no hard separations between academic and vocational subjects, or between science, social science, art, and physical education.