A draft timeline for the proposed implementation of the National Education Policy has recently been rolled out. The plans of the Department of School Education and Literacy regarding the on-ground implantation of the NEP are going to change school education fairly quickly. To put things in perspective, the students who are currently in class VII will become the debutante batch to write reformed boards in 2025-26.
As for the National Curriculum Framework, the students currently studying in class VIII will be the first to see the NCF take effect along with the new assessment modalities from 2021 onwards.
The Department of School Education and Literacy has charted out 300 key tasks, delegating it to the entire spectrum of NEP implementing agencies. The tasks are supposed to be completed in the time frame of five years. These tasks pertain to the key recommendations of the NEP, early childhood education, functional literacy and numeracy, mother tongue instruction medium, and teacher training reforms.
According to School Education Secretary, Anita Kanwal, the draft timelines have been circulated and feedbacks are expected.
As per the reports, the NEP’s opening will be the New Curriculum Framework (NCF). The preparation of NCF falls in the ambit of the NCERT. The NCF by NCERT is set to cover Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), school education, and adult education. The NCERT is supposed to complete the task by 2021 and SCERTs are supposed to implement the NCF in their respective states by 2022. The redesigning of the NCERT and SCERT textbooks is to be completed in three phases, in three years, starting 2021.
As stated above, students now studying in class VIII will herald the NCF with the use of new textbooks and the new assessment systems from the next years. They will be the first batch to study under the NCF in high school and intermediate classes.
According to a senior official at CBSE, the NCF recommendations regarding assessment have partially been put in place from this year itself. It is evident with the introduction of competency-based questions (10 percent) in the 2020 exam papers. Competency-based questions involve reasoning and application of concepts, such questions are expected to replace memory-based questions substantially by 2025-26 by occupying 50-60 percent of the exam paper.
As per the proposed timeline, the board reforms will stand completed by 2025-26.
As for the teacher-training, the draft timelines suggest that the new curriculum for teacher training, to be developed by the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE), will be completed by 2022. The universities will adopt it as their B.ED. curriculum 2023 onwards.
Relevant to the teacher training related to Early Childhood Education, the course for aanganwadi workers’ training will be developed. Starting in 2021, it is due for completion by 2024.
The NEP recommends an integrated five-year early childhood education, to realize this, in the first leg, Balvatika programs for aanganwadis and preschools will be introduced from the year 2022. These programs will be one-year-long. Besides these, a 3-month preparatory module for class 1 children will be introduced. The second leg, 2023-24, an additional year of pre-primary will be introduced in the aanganwadis and primary schools.
The development and rolling out of the NCF and assessment system changes do not have a financial component to them as does the EECE and Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission. Hence the implementation of these would be subject to budget contingencies.
The assessment of the progress of the reforms will be done through National Achievement Surveys, which are proposed to be conducted in 2021, 2023, and 2025. These surveys will primarily test the language and math skills of Class 3 students. Similar achievement surveys will be conducted for the states in 2022, 2024, and 2026.
As for the induction of the mother tongue in instruction, it will follow a methodical mapping of marked areas and identification of teachers. The onus of training teachers and resource development for this shift in the medium of instruction, till class V, will be on the SCERTs.
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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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