To undertake a review of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF). The initiative will take its course after the Lok Sabha election results are announced. The NCF was brought into effect in the year 2005 and since then this would be the first comprehensive review thereof. The NCF 2005 had enunciated the need for substantive changes in the school curriculum for making it progressive. The NCF not only decides the curricular practice and directs the framing of the textbooks but also standardizes the teacher training and teaching practices to meet the curricular goals.
NCF 2005 an overview
The NCF 2005 diverged from the preceding curricular guidelines in one major way in that it was the first to emphasize upon ‘Learning without Burden’. Its objective was to curtail the academic burden that impedes the development of the children and making education more experiential were some of the characteristic aspects of the NCF 2005. The NCF 2005 was also informed by the International Convention on the Rights of Children and it sought to institutionalize the promotion of academic equity and also ensuring the provision of platforms for opinion and participation of the children in the policies related to their welfare.
The guidelines issued with respect to the curriculum prior to the NCF 2005 include the 1975 guideline which directed the inclusion of General Science as a compulsory subject and recommended activity based integrated science up to class 10 th, the 1998 guideline for structuring a learner-centered science curriculum and year 2000 guideline for introducing Science &Technology in upper primary and secondary classes.
NCF 2005—the question of educational reform
It must be kept in view that the NCF 2005 predates the Right to Education Act and with the introduction of the latter curriculum guidelines registered the need for recalibration. In the past decade and a half for which the NCF 2005 has remained in force reforms have remained slow to come. The reasons for the glacial pace of reform are multifold. The systemic deficiencies that plague Indian education scenario have remained principal reasons behind the failure of fundamental transformation.
The volume of the curriculum and theoretical rigor becomes doubly oppressive when there is inadequacy in both the quantity and quality of teachers and educational infrastructure.
The rationalization of the textbooks is apparently the major intermediary curricular intervention that has taken place since the enforcement of the NCF 2005. The inputs of the intellectuals, educationists, teachers, students and parents have been considered to bring about the rationalization of the textbooks.
The 2019 review of NCF—what to expect?
The dimensions that were taken into account that brought about the NCF 2005 and subsequent rationalization of textbooks are the age-appropriate syllabi, experiential learning, collaborative instruction and real-life application of knowledge. The review of the NCF, that will reportedly take a one-year-long course, will be based on the learnings attained from the exercise of rationalizing the textbooks and the original objectives of the NCF 2005.
It is necessary to point out that in the decade and a half for which the NCF has guided the discourse of curriculum subscription of the schools, technology has come to play a far bigger role in education thus the reevaluation of the NCF must also be based on the compatibility to technological intervention in education. The curriculum framework must also take into account the need for building life-skills in children and infusing in them a sense of social responsibility. The interest in academics need to be nurtured in the younger generation and the psychology that takes studies to be necessary burden must be marginalized through careful crafting of the curriculums.
The curriculum framework also has a bearing on the co-curricular. The curriculum is the standard that is used to derive and measure the learning outcomes but such outcomes cannot be attained solely through the pursuance of the curriculum therefore it is an imperative to reconsider the volume of the syllabus and methods of assessment so as to present the students with enough time and incentive to participate in extra-curricular and sports activities.
The efficiency of the implementation of the review outcomes will depend upon the proficiency of the educators to a large extent. Keeping this in view, the NCERT has declared its intent to train as many as 4.2 million elementary school teachers by the end of the year 2019. The mammoth and ambitious teacher training program has been piloted in the state of Tripura wherein 31,000 teachers were trained employing 284 resource persons.
The state led reforms were much awaited and as the nation has seen several promises made by the political parties regarding the school educational reforms. The moves of the dispensation that comes to rule will come to light in its due course, however, the announcement of the NCERT led review of the NCF is welcome and we sincerely hope that it will not end up being too little too late.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.