The steering committee, led by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan, featured a distinguished panel of members, including Fields medalist Manjul Bhargava, former National Book Trust chairperson Govind Prasad Sharma, Najma Akhtar, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Milind Kamble, founder Chairman of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Dhir Jhingran, founder director of the NGO Language and Learning Foundation, among other notable individuals.
What is NCFSE 2023?
National Curriculum Framework (NCF) introduces important changes to the Indian education system for classes 9-12. These changes include the mandate for students to study multiple Indian languages and a modified approach to board examinations:
- Languages in Classes 9-10 and 11-12: The NCF requires students in classes 9-10 to study three languages, including two Indian languages. For classes 11-12, students will need to study two languages, one of which must be of Indian origin. This change is a response to extensive feedback received from around 4,000 organizations over three months. Notably, this modification accommodates concerns raised by organizations affiliated with the RSS regarding the emphasis on Indian languages, especially in higher classes.
- Shift in Board Examinations: The framework advocates for board exams to be conducted twice a year, offering students the opportunity to perform at their best. Under this system, students can appear for board exams in subjects they have completed and feel prepared for. They can also retain their best scores from multiple attempts.
- Semester System Transition: While the initial draft proposed an immediate shift from annual to semester-based examinations in class 12, the final NCF has reconsidered this approach. The framework recognizes the challenges that states face in terms of infrastructure for teaching and assessment under a semester system. It now recommends a “long-term” transition to semester or term-based systems for all education boards.
- Language Learning Guidelines: The NCF initially suggested the teaching of three languages (R1, R2, and R3) in classes 6-8 and two languages (R1 and R2) in classes 9-10, with flexibility left to state governments and school boards to define these categories. However, the final NCF now mandates the instruction of three languages up to class 10, with at least two of these being native to India. Furthermore, it states that students in classes 11-12 must study two languages, one of which has to be an Indian language.
Subject Assessment and Flexibility: The framework sets a maximum of seven subjects for assessment in class 12, as opposed to the current maximum of six subjects in many school boards. It also promotes a blended approach to subjects, encouraging students to pursue a combination of science and humanities, reducing the strict divisions between arts, commerce, and science streams in classes 11 and 12.
It’s essential to understand that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the NCF, which is built upon the NEP, offer guiding principles for education but are not binding on individual states. While the NEP is a policy that states can choose to adopt, the NCF provides recommendations on how to structure classroom education. The revisions in the NCF aim to promote linguistic diversity, flexibility, and a holistic approach to education, addressing feedback and the evolving needs of students and the education system.
The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), released by the Centre, introduces changes for language study and board examinations:
- Languages in Classes 9-12: The NCF mandates three languages, including two Indian languages, for classes 9-10. In classes 11-12, students must study two languages, one of which is Indian.
- Board Exams Twice a Year: The NCF suggests holding board exams twice yearly, allowing students to perform better and retain their best scores.
The NCFSE 2023 recognizes challenges in transitioning to a semester system in class 12 and suggests a long-term approach for such changes.
Extensive feedback prompted the inclusion of teaching two Indian languages in classes 9-10 and one in classes 11-12. This accommodated concerns from organizations, including RSS-affiliated groups, regarding the emphasis on Indian languages.
The steering committee, led by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan, included distinguished individuals such as Fields medalist Manjul Bhargava and others.
In summary, the NCFSE 2023 emphasizes Indian languages, proposes board exam changes, and reflects community input. While the NEP and NCF aren’t binding on states, they guide education policy. The NCF also allows more subjects in class 12 and encourages a flexible approach to subject combinations.