A structure in the form of a quartet called the National Curriculum Framework has been established to provide a new and improved educational system in India. The National Curriculum Frameworks, which span four different age ranges from early infancy to maturity, were introduced as a part of the National Education Policy of 2020 (NEP 2020).
The upcoming National Education Policy will be based on these four national
curricular frameworks. Thus, the NEP’s own goals, functions, and objectives serve as the foundation for these frameworks. The NEP was first implemented in 1968, followed by a second NEP that was launched in 1986, adjusted in 1992, and remained unchanged until a revision was suggested in 2020, which resulted in the NEP of 2020.
This article discusses the NEP’s vision and aims as well as how the NEFs are
designed to not only uphold those objectives but also devise a plan of action that would enable the NEP’s objectives to be carried out more effectively.
How India’s Backward Educational System Hindered its Development
India adhered to the traditional educational system for three decades, from 1968 to 2020, focusing on pursuing an education that ensures employment and delivering education in a robotic and repetitive manner. The conventional educational system supported a rigid system of education and was fundamentally a backward system that was too limiting to allow for any meaningful growth in students.
In light of such a policy, the NEP 2020 aspires to lessen such unyielding precedents and to introduce a new, more analytical and logical approach to education.
The goal of NEP 2020 is to end subject compartmentalization into streams like PCM (Physics, Chemistry, Math), PCB (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), Humanities (Arts), and Commerce, which prevents students from gaining a more in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding by limiting them to one subject, one stream, and ultimately just one specialisation.
Over 140 billion people live in India now, with over 60 billion of them being children. With a population that is increasingly made up of young people, it is sad to note that the majority of these 60 crore individuals are not competitive in the global economy because of a regressive educational system that has been imposed upon all the students up to 2020.
Due to simple factors, like the demand for a 4-year baccalaureate in many prestigious US colleges while India has traditionally offered a 3-year undergraduate degree programme for the past three decades, this system led to many disadvantages faced by Indian students studying abroad. This has given Indian students an unfair weakness, compelling them to take bridge courses or wait a few years to enroll in the colleges and programmes of their choice.
Additionally, the access and equity agendas were the two key priorities of the
education policies that were in place prior to 2020.
It’s crucial to note that these education policies were created against the backdrop of a rising, newly independent India with a literacy rate of no more than 12%. They forced the policymakers of India at the time to pursue an education strategy that is able to make education available to as many as possible since their main focus caused the “Quantity approach” to take precedence over the “Quality approach.” This mindset undoubtedly fostered certain concessions in the standard of teachers’ education, with respect to both, the education they received and the education they imparted.
The Delayed but Necessary Catalyst of Change
Other changes suggested by the NEP include switching from the current 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 one, which would apply to children from the age range of 3 to 18, as well as reducing the content of the curricula by removing all but the core and important subjects from the curriculum.
The NEP has also suggested incorporating internships, volunteer work, a necessary introduction to Indian and foreign languages, along with a research-oriented approach to education, moving forward, in order to adopt a holistic vision of education.
According to the National Research Foundation (NRF), research is actively promoted throughout all Indian institutions to give the industry the chance to collaborate closely with academia and gain access to their resources for advancing their research and development as well as open innovation initiatives.
This will encourage apprenticeship as well because the industry will benefit from
hiring a large number of apprentices, which will lower costs and produce a trained workforce at the same time. The four national curricular frameworks were established by the national education strategy as a follow-up in the effort to realize this much bigger vision of a young and developing India.
The Ministry of Education established the National Steering Committee, which is
headed by Dr K. Kasturirangan, to oversee and direct the growth of NCFs. Inputs for the National Curriculum Frameworks (in the areas of ECCE, School Education, Teacher Education, and Adult Education) were sought from a variety of stakeholders during a participatory deliberation process, including teachers, parents, students, educational institutions, neo- and non-literates etc.
More than 500 District Level Consultations and more than 50 face-to-face
consultations with various Ministries, religious institutions, civil society
organizations, NGOs, and Universities were held as part of this process of debates and discussions. A little over 1,50,000 stakeholders have provided input via the mobile app survey in digital form. More than 12,00,000 stakeholders have contributed to the Citizen-Centric Survey, which was introduced by the Ministry of Education in August 2022. All facets of ECCE, school education, teacher education, and adult education are receiving input. The key points of the inputs showed that all of the areas agreed with NEP 2020’s suggestions.
The National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage was developed and
introduced by the Ministry of Education on October 20, 2022, taking these
considerations into account. The National Curriculum Framework for School
Education’s pre-draft has also been prepared as a follow-up to this NCF-FS.
The Driving Forces of a Change: Learning and Progressing
The NCFs are the first step in the process of realising the goal and dream outlined in the NEP 2020. The NEP 2020 calls for significant revisions to our current curricula and has the potential to significantly alter India’s population.
The Indian education system had been inactive for a few decades, which is one of the many explanations for why our students and professionals continue to fall short of international standards despite an economy that is becoming increasingly digital and has a literacy rate of 86.21%. Although the number of Indian immigrants working overseas has always been considerable, they are not always engaged in the formal, intellectualized sector because India is a source of inexpensive labour that is outsourced abroad and merged into the unorganized sector. With the new education strategy, our country has a chance to compete and be accepted without restrictions into the best colleges in the world.
- Why the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is the Need of the Hour?
- National Curriculum Framework 2023: Whom Will This Structure of ‘Student Choice’ Benefit?
- Ministry of Education, Government of India. (2022). National Education Policy 2020. Retrieved from https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/National_Education_Policy_2020_English.pdf
- University Grants Commission. (2016). Learning Outcomes-based Curriculum Framework (LOCF) for undergraduate education. Retrieved from https://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/3829928_UGC-Learning_Outcomes_Based_Curriculum_Framework_2016.pdf
- Sharma, R., & Raghav, R. (2021). An Analysis of the National Curriculum Framework 2005. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 48(3), 321-338. doi:10.1080/00220272.2020.1814245
- National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration. (2020). Implementation of National Curriculum Framework at the Elementary Level: A Study of Selected States. Retrieved from http://www.niepa.ac.in/sites/default/files/OP_106_Implementation%20of%20National%20Curriculum%20Framework%20at%20the%20Elementary%20Level.pdf
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Nayana is a Research Intern at IMPRI.
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