NCF Draft 2023: What are the proposed changes?

The Indian school system is undergoing a major restructuring, as on April 6th, the Ministry of Education released the pre-draft of the National Curriculum Framework aka NCF for school education for public feedback. The draft will be finalised after further rounds of discussions with the national steering committee led by former ISRO chairperson, K Kasturirangan.

Under its latest revision, which has been underway since September 2021, draft frameworks on early childhood care and education have been prepared, while work on teacher and adult education is underway. Apart from textbooks, NCF, after its adoption by CBSE and other state boards, is also supposed to restructure several other aspects including choice of subjects, pattern of teaching, and assessment.

What are the proposed changes in terms of the design of subjects and exams at secondary stage?

One of the most significant recommendations mentioned in the NCF draft on school education is about choice of subjects and exams in classes IX-XII. The students of class IX and X will be required to study 16 courses categorised under eight curricular areas. The suggested curricular areas are Humanities , Mathematics & Computing, Vocational Education, Physical Education, Arts, Social Science, Science and Inter-disciplinary Areas.

Students will be required to clear eight board exams, each of which will assess their hold on courses they learn in class IX and X, to obtain the final certification.

Under the current system, there are no direct links between class IX and X curriculum and students across most boards have to pass at least five subjects to clear class X. The committee also has recommended more changes for Class XI and XII, including the introduction of a semester system in class XII.

What are the proposed changes in subjects like Social Science, Maths and others?

The NCF pre-draft implies that stressing on a single piece of evidence, instead of exposing children to multiple contrasting pieces of evidence, throws up a “lopsided or inadequate picture” of a topic in social science textbooks.

It also says that many students have developed a fear of Mathematics in the current system. Methods of assessment in Mathematics have also encouraged rote learning and promoted the perception of math as “mechanical computation”, it says. The solution according to the committee is a shift towards play, activity, discovery and discussion-based learning.

When will these changes come into effect?

The government also declared that the textbooks based on the revised NCF will be taught in schools from the academic year 2024-25. However, no specific timeline on the implementation of the changes on exams, assessment and subject design has been made available yet. For feedback, the email address – – has been issued by the government.

Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

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.

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