National Curriculum Framework for School Education-NCFSE-2023

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.

The final National Curriculum Framework (NCF) released by the NCERT introduces several changes for students in classes 11 and 12. According to this framework, students will now be required to study two languages, one of which must be of Indian origin. This recommendation is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and aims to promote linguistic diversity and preserve Indian languages and literatures.


Highlights of Pedagogy Recommendation in National Curriculum Framework for School Education 2023

To enable deeper understanding of concepts across subjects, and their interrelations, and to enable the acquisition of the various aforementioned values, dispositions, and capacities, pedagogy in the classroom must become more effective. Depending on the matter of study, context, and stage of the student, these effective pedagogical approaches would be of a wide range, including pedagogy that is more experiential, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery oriented, discussion-based, project-based, arts-based, sports-based, and activity-based. Such pedagogy will not only be more effective, but also more engaging and enjoyable.

In general, more participation, questioning, discussion, debate, and writing (including creative writing) by all students in the classroom in all subjects will help ensure the acquisition of capacities in languages, communication, and logical reasoning that are considered essential for effective exchanges of ideas across disciplines over a lifetime.

Assessment too will be transformed in parallel to the changes in pedagogy, from primarily testing facts, to testing core capacities and Competencies. The ‘assessment culture’ must change too, so that assessment is conducted increasingly as learning and for learning. There must also be periodic assessment of learning to ensure readiness for the next phase of learning, and to arrange suitable support for students when this readiness is not achieved.

The Board examinations for Grades 10 and 12 will also be substantially reformed. These will be made ‘easier’ — the Board examinations will primarily aim to assess understanding and achievement of Competencies rather than months of coaching and memorisation. To further eliminate the ‘high stakes’ aspect of Board examinations, all students will be allowed to take Board examinations on at least two occasions during any given school year, with only the best score being retained. In the long term, being able to take a subject Board examination immediately after the ‘school term’ (i.e., ‘semester-wise’ or ‘on-demand’ Board examinations) will be made available. (NCFSE-Page 16)


Effective pedagogy is essential for promoting deeper subject understanding and values. It should encompass varied approaches like experiential, integrated, inquiry-driven, and project-based learning. Increased student engagement through participation, discussion, debate, and writing in all subjects will develop vital language, communication, and reasoning skills.

Assessment methods should mirror pedagogical changes, shifting from fact-based testing to evaluating core competencies. This shift should foster a learning-centered assessment culture. Periodic assessments will gauge readiness for subsequent learning phases, providing necessary support when needed.

Reforms to Grade 10 and 12 board exams are planned. These exams will focus on assessing competencies rather than rote memorization. The “high stakes” nature of these exams will be reduced by allowing students to take them twice yearly, with the best score considered. In the future, on-demand exams will be introduced, enabling students to sit for subject exams immediately after completion of respective terms.

Key points of National Curriculum Framework -Pedagogy

  • Effective pedagogy is crucial for better understanding of subjects, values, and skills acquisition.
  • Various pedagogical approaches should be employed based on subject, context, and student stage.
  • Approaches include experiential, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, discussion-based, project-based, arts-based, sports-based, and activity-based methods.
  • Such pedagogy enhances effectiveness, engagement, and enjoyment.
  • Increased student participation, questioning, discussion, debate, and writing across subjects fosters essential language, communication, and reasoning skills.
  • Assessment methods will align with pedagogical changes, moving from fact testing to evaluating core capacities and competencies.
  • The assessment culture should shift towards learning-centered assessment and periodic checks of readiness for subsequent learning phases.
  • Reforms are planned for Grade 10 and 12 board exams, aiming to assess competencies rather than rote memorization.
  • Board exams will be made ‘easier’ and will focus on understanding and competency achievement.
  • The ‘high stakes’ nature of board exams will be reduced by allowing students to take exams twice yearly, retaining the best score.

In the long term, students will have the option to take subject board exams immediately after completing the corresponding term, introducing ‘semester-wise’ or ‘on-demand’ board examinations.

Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools: Learning Should be Holistic, Integrated, Enjoyable, and Engaging

The curricular and pedagogical structure of school education will be reconfigured to make it responsive and relevant to the developmental needs and interests of learners at different stages of their development, corresponding to the age ranges of 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years, respectively. The curricular and pedagogical structure and the curricular framework for school education will therefore be guided by a 5+3+3+4 design, consisting of the Foundational Stage (in two parts, that is, 3 years of Anganwadi/pre-school + 2 years in primary school in Grades 1-2; both together covering ages 3-8), Preparatory Stage (Grades 3-5, covering ages 8-11), Middle Stage (Grades 6-8, covering ages 11-14), and Secondary Stage (Grades 9-12 in two phases, i.e., 9 and 10 in the first and 11 and 12 in the second, covering ages 14-18). (NEP 2020, Page-11)

NCF 2023-rajeevelt