The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 called for the development of a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and new State Curriculum Frameworks (SCFs) as the core basis for transforming the curriculum and pedagogy of school education in the country.
The National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) sets forth the guiding principles, strategies, and procedures for the successful development of a high quality NCFSE, as well as a high quality National Curriculum Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCFECCE), National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) and National Curriculum Framework for Adult Education (NCFAE), that are in consonance with each other and with the recommendations of the NEP 2020.
The overarching objective of this NCF is to help in positively transforming the school education system of India, through positive changes in the curriculum including pedagogy.
In particular, this NCF aims to help change practices in education and not just ideas; indeed, since the word ‘curriculum’ encapsulates the overall experiences that a student has in school, ‘practices’ do not just refer to curricular content and pedagogy, but also include school environment and culture. It is this holistic overall transformation of the curriculum that will enable us to positively transform overall learning experiences for students.
Contents of the NCFSE
This NCF is organised into five parts.
- Part A articulates the broad Aims of School Education, and the desirable Values and Dispositions, Capacities and Skills, and Knowledge that are required for achieving these aims. It also lays down the principles and approaches for content selection, pedagogy, and assessment and gives the rationale and design principles for the four stages of schooling.
- Part B focuses on some of the important cross-cutting themes of NCF, viz., rootedness in India, education for values, learning and caring about the environment, inclusive education, guidance and counselling, and use of educational technology in schools. 19 National Curriculum Framework for School Education
- Part C has separate chapters for each school subject. Each of these chapters have Learning Standards defined for all the relevant stages of schooling along with specific guidelines for content selection, pedagogy, and assessments appropriate for that subject. The part also has a chapter on the Foundational Stage and one on design and range of subjects in Grades 11 and 12
- Part D handles school culture and processes that enable a positive learning environment and inculcate desirable values and dispositions.
- The last part, Part E, outlines the requirements for an overall ecosystem of schooling that would enable the achievement of the aims of the NCF. This includes aspects of Teacher capacities and service conditions, physical infrastructure requirements, and the role of the community and family.
Key highlights of the policy
Some of the key highlights of the Policy in the context of school education are:
- A 5+3+3+4 stage design. Schooling has been divided into four stages based on the styles of learning best suited for those age groups — Foundational Stage for ages 3-8, Preparatory Stage for ages 8-11, Middle Stage for ages 11-14, and Secondary Stage for ages 14-18.
- Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The Policy has laid significant emphasis on ECCE. It is now well recognised that early educational intervention, along with nutrition, is foundational for future positive outcomes. A holistic curriculum has been developed keeping in consideration all the relevant developmental domains of early childhood.
- Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. The Policy gives the highest priority to achieving universal Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. The abilities to read and write, and perform basic operations with numbers, is seen as a necessary foundation and indispensable prerequisite for all future schooling and lifelong learning.
- Curricular Aims. Emphasis on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning and development of capacities and values, such as critical thinking, decision making, and creativity, and ethical, human, and constitutional values.
- Multidisciplinary, Holistic, and Integrated Education. Focus on this across the Sciences, Social Sciences, Art, Humanities, and Sports for a multidisciplinary world in order to ensure the unity and integrity of all knowledge.
- Reduced Curriculum Content. The Policy makes clear recommendations to reduce the content load in each subject to its core essentials and thereby make space for critical thinking and holistic learning.
- Flexibility and Choice in the Secondary Stage. The Policy recommends increased flexibility and choice of subjects of study, particularly in secondary school — including subjects in Physical Education, the Art and Crafts, and Vocational Skills — so that students can design their own paths of study and life plans.
- Integrating Vocational Education. The Policy aims to overcome the social status hierarchy associated with Vocational Education and requires integration of Vocational Education programs into mainstream education.
- Multilingualism. Given the multilingual heritage of India, and the cognitive benefits of learning multiple languages, the Policy gives strong emphasis towards learning multiple languages including languages native to India.
- Rootedness in India. The vision of the Policy is to instil among the learners a deep-rooted pride in being Indian, not only in thought, but also in spirit, intellect, and deeds, as well as to develop knowledge, skills, values, and dispositions that support responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development and living, and global well-being, thereby reflecting a truly global citizen.
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Source : NCERT