NEP 2020: Systems to Reform School Education

    1.  National Curricular Framework for School Education (NCFSE) 

The NEP has a precursor in the form of the comprehensive National Curricular Framework, as far as school education is concerned. The timeline for the conceptualization, creation and implementation was originally set as 2020-21. 

NEP 2020

The agency responsible for devising the NCF is the NCERT and the entire framework will embody the thought that underlies the NEP. The NCFSE will also take into account the frontline curriculum needs and practicalities of teaching-learning. The stakeholders will have their inputs represented in the NCF and for that the deliberations with the State Governments, Ministries, relevant Departments of the Central Government, and other expert bodies have been undertaken. The NCFSE is not conceptualized as a static document, it will be revised every 5-10 years keeping in view the changing curricular needs. 

Another area that has been given due emphasis in the NEP is that of professional development of the teachers, and for that National Professional Standards for Teachers are being set. The laying down of the guiding set of the National Professional Standards will be undertaken by the National Council for Teacher Education that will be acting in its Professional Standard Setting Body (PSSB) avatar and will be overseen by the General Education Council (GEC). The setting up of standards will involve an active intervention of NCERT, SCERTs, experts of teacher education and vocational education and veteran teachers representing all regions and levels.

    2. Analogous to the setting up of the learning outcomes for children at each stage, the Professional Standards for Teachers would be set visualizing the role of teachers and curricular expectations at different stages of their career. The standards would also have clear delineation of parameters to be used for assessment during appraisals. 

The professional standards set will have a bearing on the teacher-training. The professional standards may see adoption by the states and they are likely to inform the career management apparatus which covers tenure, professional development, increments and felicitations.  

The National Professional Standards for Teachers are envisaged as the exclusive and comprehensive benchmark for the appraisal of teachers which remains more of less dependent on the seniority and length of service. The standards are expected to be revised in 2030 after an empirically evaluating their on-ground appropriateness. 

    3. The schools would also see a major change in the form of a new assessment system, starting next academic year i.e. 2022-23. 

The NEP has taken issue with the coaching culture that dominates the schedule of the students from secondary school onwards. The learning outcomes remain questionable and the need for coaching also brings into question the efficacy of the classroom instruction. The structure of the assessments, primarily that of the board and the entrance examinations, encourages the subversion of the academic competitiveness and is deleterious to the spirit of the students and learning as the excessive exam-centered coaching supplants the real education. Informed by these thoughts the NEP has proposed to reform the assessment systems in schools. 

The board exams at the 10 and 12 checkpoints will continue, however the structure will see a dynamic shift towards assessment of conceptual depth and core competencies rather than memorization of information which will encourage holistic learning and check crash courses and coaching. The board exams will also be made more flexible in that they will have more subject options and scope of taking improvement exams. 

4 . Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) 

The NEP acknowledges the importance of the ECCE and cites the neuropsychological findings that suggest that early childhood up until age 6 constitutes a major phase of brain and cognitive development. Keeping this in view the NEP emphasizes a structured initiation of children into education. 

The conventional 10 + 2 is being replaced by the NEP proposed 5+3+3+4 system that implies the integration of the preschooling into the formal schooling. The restructured schooling would look like this--5 years of Foundational stage for ages 3 to 8 and For classes: Anganwadi/pre-school, class 1, class 2, followed by 3 years of Preparatory stage for ages 8 to 11 and for classes: 3 to 5, followed by 3 years of Middle stage for ages: 11 to 14For classes: 6 to 8, and finally 4 years of Secondary stage for ages 14 to 18, and for classes: 9 to 12

As we can see, the preschool stands integrated with the formal schooling. While the reasoning behind advocating early childhood schooling seems solid, the on-ground reality wherein tens of millions do not have anything remotely resembling quality ECCE leave us with nothing but cognitive dissonance. The NEP acknowledges the gap and proposes universal provisioning of quality early childhood education by 2030. The beginning of the restructuring and reimagining of the Early Childhood Education in India will begin by the development of a  National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) by the NCERT. The framework will be developed for the children between 0-8 years and will have two sub-frameworks one for 0-3 year olds and another for 0-8 year olds.


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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