A 12-member national steering committee was established by the Union Ministry of Education in September 2021 to create a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) in accordance with the National Education Policy 2020. The National Curriculum Framework has a significant influence since it serves as a blueprint for creating curricula, textbooks, and teaching methods throughout the nation. The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which was established in 2005, produced the fourth National Curriculum Framework, which is now being used in India.
In the past 16 years, a lot has changed. New job-creating opportunities are appearing, and the labor market is putting out an altogether new set of requirements. For instance, the IT sector in India is expanding, creating a demand for experts in artificial intelligence, big data, and coding which makes teaching students the right skills from the school level become necessary. Technical know-how is the foundation of India's modern economy.
But what comes under the Curriculum Framework?
What is the National Curriculum Framework?
Based on the National Education Policy 2020's goal and in order to support its implementation, the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for the Foundational Stage was created.
Children between the ages of 3 to 8 are included in the Foundational Stage across all types of Indian institutions. According to NEP 2020, this is the first stage of the 5+3+3+4 Curriculum and Pedagogical Restructuring of School Education.
Curricular and Pedagogical Framework
This is India's first-ever integrated Curriculum Framework for students in the third through eighth grades. It is a direct result of the 5+3+3+4 "curriculum and pedagogical" framework for school education that NEP 2020 has developed.
For children between the ages of 3 and 8, the Foundational Stage proposes an integrated approach to early care and education. The transformational aspect of this stage of education is anticipated to qualitatively enhance the course materials and learning results, influencing children's lives in a positive direction for the future. All studies and research on a child's early years come to the unassailable conclusion that providing them with high-quality care and education throughout this time provides benefits for everyone involved, including the nation as a whole.
The Inclusiveness of Play
Play is at the center of the transactional, operational, and conceptual approaches to curriculum structure, pedagogy, time and content organization, and the whole experience of the child, as stated in the National Education Policy 2020, the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage.
Children learn best through play, thus the learning experiences envisioned by the National Curriculum Framework stimulate the child's development in all aspects — cognitive, social-emotional, and physical — and allow kids to acquire Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
The home environment, which includes family, extended family, neighbors, and other members of the immediate community, cannot be overstated since it has a huge influence on the kid, especially in the age group of 3 to 8 years. The NCF guidelines are institutional focus. Therefore, the NCF focuses on how teachers, parents, and communities can support and enhance the developmental outcomes that are desired at this period.
Stressing the Learning Outcomes of Students
The national steering committee should place a high priority on a significant improvement in the learning outcomes of Indian students as it sets out to determine the details of the new national curriculum framework. In India, more than 65% of kids attend public schools. With 1.5 million schools, over 9.6 million instructors, and more than 264 million students, India has one of the biggest education sectors in the world. The country's enrollment rates have improved, and now the emphasis should be on the academic results of the students. The goal should be to develop the fundamental, learning-related abilities of reading and arithmetic. Students who achieve better learning outcomes in the early years continue to do so throughout their lives, which creates fresh prospects for achievement.
Even in higher education, there must be an effort made to enhance concept retention and to promote its application.
Changing the Techniques
The design of the curriculum and the appropriate modification of the teaching methods are key components of the solution. India has a teacher shortage, and how well education is delivered has a significant impact on kids' learning. Unquestionably commendable is National Education Policy 2020's emphasis on transdisciplinary education and early skill development. The inclusion of topics like data science, financial literacy, and artificial intelligence in school curricula demonstrates the intention to modernize our educational system in order to keep up with the rapidly changing demands of the labor market. However, enhancing learning outcomes must serve as the foundation for education reform.
NCF also provides a framework for foundation-level syllabus development. The learning outcomes, NCF's guiding principles and criteria, as well as the local context, should be taken into account while choosing the syllabus's particular content and resources. In early education, experiential learning is essential. Projects provide kids the chance to hone a variety of abilities, especially those that require peer collaboration.
Five-Step Learning Process
NCF develops the sequence that a teacher may utilize in planning the ways to offer instructions in a classroom setting using the indigenous five-step learning process known as "Panchaadi."
- Aditi (Introduction)
- Bodh (Conceptual Understanding)
- Abhyas (Practice)
- Prayog (Application)
- Prasar (Expansion)
Teachers ought to be required to concentrate more on in-class work and refrain from assigning lengthy, difficult assignments to pupils. In the classroom, NCF emphasizes the importance of interaction and narrative. Additionally, it incorporates learning through musical motions, rhymes, and toys. It calls for spending time in and with nature in addition to doing crafts, going on excursions, and playing games indoors and outside.
In order to improve information retention, we must modify pedagogy, for instance by moving away from rote learning and in favor of practical application, as called for in NEP 2020. In order to provide a great education for everyone, the national steering group for the new National Curriculum Framework must make a clear transition.
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Suggested Read: NEP 2020 - A Comprehensive Guide