- 11 Sep 2023
The year 2020 witnessed a groundbreaking change in India's educational landscape with the introduction of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Crafted by the Ministry of Education, this policy aims to transform both school and higher education, including technical education. The NEP 2020 revolutionized the existing 10+2 framework into a more comprehensive 5+3+3+4 structure, catering to various age groups.
This transformation incorporates pre-schooling, three years of Anganwadi, and twelve years of formal education, creating a more streamlined and inclusive educational journey. The impact of this change is immense. Nearly two crore school students are expected to benefit from this shift as they make their way back to educational institutions, marking a significant step forward in promoting education accessibility and inclusivity.
“The aim of education will not only be cognitive development but also building character and creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st-century skills.”, says the NEP 2020. The National Curriculum Framework 2023 is the next steppingstone in the journey towards a well-structured education system. What exactly is the new framework?
In the pursuit of implementing the NEP 2020, the Indian Education Ministry unveiled the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) on August 23, 2023. But what does the National Curriculum Framework include? The framework acts as a blueprint for the nationally approved curriculum, shaping what students learn and how they are assessed through examinations. Notably, this is the first revision since 2005. The NCF 2023 has proposed pivotal changes in the syllabus, subject choice availability, and board examination patterns, starting with the 2024-25 batch and developing further in the coming years. Here are the new major rules:
The policy recommends all educational boards in the country hold two board exams a year, enhancing flexibility and reducing the pressure of a single high-stakes exam. It not only increases the passing rate but also avoids the imposition of depending on a single performance. The rewarding part is that the students’ ultimate scores will be determined by their best performance, giving them a second chance for improvement. Starting in 2024, students under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will be given the option of a biannual examination. The future of the policy also expects to offer ‘on-demand’ examinations so that children can appear for exams when ready and learn at a chosen pace.
According to the current curriculum, students studying in their XI and XII classes choose one language as a compulsory subject. Students are now obligated to study at least two languages, one of which must be an Indian language, fostering linguistic diversity and cultural awareness. The NCF mentions that the goal is to open the students up to wider horizons and opportunities. The current five-subject curriculum for class XII will hence be changed to a six-subject curriculum.
Subjects are now categorized into four groups: (a) Languages; (b) Arts, Physical Education, and Well-being; (c) Social Science; and (d) Mathematics and Science. Students in class XII have the freedom to choose from multiple groups, promoting interdisciplinary learning. The elimination of the conventional streams of Arts, Science, and Commerce opens avenues for students to not be restricted to just one subject. Students are now being encouraged to opt for unconventional subject combinations with a minimum of two group inclusions, apart from the two languages, and a maximum of three soon.
The Indian education system has been constantly criticized for its heavy rote learning habits. The NCF challenges the current exam-oriented approach and encourages a more holistic evaluation of students' abilities. Students will be trained based on developing physical, emotional, social, and cognitive skills. The goal is to churn out skilled and informed candidates equipped with the ability to make future decisions with precision without the influence of societal pressure.
One of the highlights of the new curriculum is revamping the textbooks, with the emphasis being on embracing India's rich heritage and contributions. The syllabus now features stories of Indian mathematicians and their discoveries, infusing a sense of pride and inspiration among students. Indian education today inclines more toward international occurrences and less toward national and local stories. These stories will not only enhance the quality of education and preserve pride but will also reestablish the lack of awareness about the country’s contributions to the world’s development.
The NCF sets a vision for the future, where board exams will evolve into a modular approach. By introducing ‘modular examinations,’ where subjects are divided into manageable units, students can demonstrate their understanding more effectively. Education aims to now be strongly complemented with online learning at every student's disposal as preparation for any unforeseen pandemic situations.
The policy, although promising, isn’t binding on all states. So, the complete implementation of the NEP 2020 will take years to come, and we will be seeing major changes in education as we know it today.
In conclusion, India's education system is undergoing a revolutionary transformation with NEP 2020 and the subsequent NCF 2024. By embracing India's cultural heritage, promoting flexibility, and revamping assessments, the new framework promises to nurture well-rounded, adaptable individuals poised for success in an ever-changing world.
Exclusively written for Giving for Good Foundation by Bhairavi Hiremath.
With words as her medium and a diary full of scribbled ideas, she is usually found looking for ways to use her writing to impact for Good. If she’s out of sight, she’s probably either reading, petting cats, jamming to retro Bollywood, or of course, writing!