The Mandate • Charter of NCERT envisages a special place for designing curriculum. • NCERT expected to review school curriculum as a regular activity ensuring the highest standards of rigour • National Policy on Education, 1986 assigns a special role to NCERT in preparing and promoting a National Curriculum Framework.
NCF structures • National Steering Committee set up • NSC comprised 35 members including scholars, principals and teachers, NGO representatives and NCERT faculty • NSC supported by 21 National Focus Groups to prepare well researched Position Papers • NFGs chaired by renowned scholars and practitioners
National Focus Groups • Curricular Areas: • Science, Mathematics, Indian Languages, English, Social Sciences, Art, Dance, Theatre and Music, Physical Education & Health • Systemic Reform: • Aims of Education, Systemic Reform for Curricular Change, Curriculum, syllabus and textbooks, Teacher Education for curriculum renewal, Examination reforms, Work & Education, Educational Technology, Heritage Crafts • National Concerns • Problems of SC/ST children, Gender, Problems of children with special needs, Peace Education
Wide ranging deliberations • Country wide consultations/ interactions with classroom practitioners, scholars of the country • Rural teachers • State Governments/ Local Self Governments • Voluntary Agencies • Principals of private schools • Unprecedented media debates • Advertisements inviting suggestions placed in 28 national and regional dailies • Over 2000 responses received
A mother’s response… “Our syllabus gets more massive and moves beyond the teaching capacity of the teachers so they rush through the contents with tedious methodology. Students cannot meet the attention span requirement in the classrooms and either fail at comprehension or blank out into daydreaming. Newer topics of many different subjects are covered even before the previous ones have been chewed over. The burden of the syllabus is then passed on to the parents or tuition classes. Little children burdened with loads of ‘education’ on their shoulders trip from school to tuition classes, bypassing childhood. A section of students study harder and harder to beat each other to the top slot. Majority of the students are hounded by parents and teachers to study harder and become stressed, some requiring even clinical treatment.”
Perspectives Learning and knowledge Curricular areas, school stages and assessment School and classroom environment Systemic reform Tagore
Perspectives • Provides the historical backdrop; recalls NPE statement on curricular framework NPE • Revolves around the question of curriculum load on children • Information often confused for knowledge. • Tendency to teach everything arises from our lack of faith in children’s creative instincts. • Demand for inclusion of new topics/subjects results in disjointed syllabi; encyclopaedic textbooks, and traumatic exams.
Perspectives • Proposes guiding principles for curriculum development • Connecting knowledge to life outside the school • Ensuring that learning shifts away from rote methods • Enriching curriculum so that it goes beyond textbooks • Making examinations flexible
Perspectives • Describes the social context of education - hierarchies of caste, economic status, gender relations that influence access and participation. • Cautions against pressures to commodify schools and application of market related concepts to schools and school quality • Discusses the aims of education • Building commitment to democratic values of equality, justice, freedom, concern for others’ well being, secularism and respect for human dignity and rights.
Learning and Knowledge
Learning and Knowledge • Focuses on the child as an active learner • Primacy to children’s experiences, their voices and their participation • Need for adults to change their perception of children as passive receivers of knowledge • Children can be active participants in the construction of knowledge • The school should recognize the innate ability of each child to construct his/her own knowledge, and the fact that every child comes to school with a fund of pre-knowledge.
Learning and Knowledge • Therefore children must be encouraged to ask questions, relate what they are learning in schools to things happening outside and answer in their own words rather than by memorizing. • Recognizes the need for developing an enabling and non-threatening environment • Emphasizes that gender, caste, class, religion and minority status should not constrain participation in experiences provided in school
Learning and Knowledge • Highlights the value of interaction with: • environment, • peers, • older people to enhance learning; • Learning tasks must be designed to enable children to seek out knowledge from sites other than textbooks. • Need therefore to move away from rigid lesson planning to planning and designing activities that challenge children to think and try out what they are learning.
Curricular Areas, School Stages and Assessment • Recommends significant changes in Language, Maths, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences • Overall view to reduce stress, make education more relevant, meaningful.
Curricular Areas, School Stages and Assessment • Language: • Makes renewed attempt to implement 3-language formula • Emphasis on home language as medium of instruction • Curriculum should promote multi-lingual proficiency; can happen only if learning builds a sound language pedagogy of the mother tongue. • Focus on language as an integral part of every subject: reading, writing, listening and speaking contribute to child’s progress in all curricular areas and must be the basis for curriculum planning.
Curricular Areas, School Stages and Assessment • Mathematics • Succeeding in Maths should be seen as the right of every child • A majority of children have a sense of fear and failure of Maths: they give up early. • Curriculum is disappointing to this non-participating majority, but also to talented minority – it offers them no challenges. • Textbooks are replete with problems, exercises and methods of evaluation which are repetitive and mechanical • Focus on child’s ability to think and reason • Visualize and handle abstractions • Formulate and solve problems
Science • Should be recast to enable children to examine and analyze everyday experiences • Environment Education should become part of every subject – thru’ wide range of activities involving outdoor project work
Curricular Areas, School Stages and Assessment • Social Sciences • Recognizes disciplinary markers so that content is not eroded, but also emphasizes integration of themes, such as water water • Recommends paradigm shift to study social sciences from the perspective of marginalized groups • Gender justice and sensitivity to issues of tribal and socially deprived groups, and minority sensibilities must inform all sectors of social sciences.
Curricular Areas, School Stages and Assessment • Draws attention to four other areas: • Art Education • Covers four major spheres of music, dance, visual arts and theatre. • Focus on interactive approaches, not instruction – because goal is to promote aesthetic awareness and enable children to express themselves in different forms • Health and Physical Education • Success in school depends on nutrition and well planned physical activities.
Curricular Areas, School Stages and Assessment • Education for Peace • As a precondition for national development in view of growing tendency towards intolerance and violence. • Work and Education • Work alone can create a social temper. • Work should be infused in all subjects from primary stage upwards • Agencies offering work opportunities outside the school should be formally recognised.
School and classroom environment • Critical pre-requisites for improved performance • Availability of minimum infrastructure and material facilities • Support for planning a flexible daily schedule. • Focus on nurturing an enabling environment • Revisits traditional notions of discipline • Discusses need for providing space to parents and community
School and classroom environment • Discusses other learning sites and resources • Texts & books • Libraries, tools and laboratories • Media and ICT • Addresses the need for plurality of material and teacher autonomy/ professional independence to use such material.
Systemic Reform • Covers need for academic planning for monitoring quality • Reaffirms faith in local self government • Proposes systematic activity mapping of functions appropriate at relevant levels of local self government • Simultaneously ensuring financial autonomy on the basis of the funds-must-follow-functions principle.
Systemic Reform • Teacher education should focus on developing professional identity of the teacher • Examination reforms to reduce psychological stress, particularly on children in class X and XII • Recommends changing the typology of questions so that reasoning and creative abilities replace rote learning
Udega to saaton aasmaano ki khabar le aayega. Udaaoge to chhat pe jaakar baith jayega. (Were she to fly she would bring tidings from across the infinite skies; Were you to make her fly, she would but confine herself to sitting on the rooftop)
Future Steps • Development of syllabi and textbooks based on the following considerations: • Appropriateness of topics and themes for relevant stages of children’s development • Continuity from one level to the next • Pervasive resonance of the values enshrined in the Constitution of India in the organisation of knowledge in all subjects • Inter-disciplinary and thematic linkages between topics listed for different school subjects, which fall under discrete disciplinary areas
Future Steps • Linkages between school knowledge in different subjects and children’s everyday experiences • Infusion of environment related knowledge and concern in all subjects and at all levels • Sensitivity to gender, caste and class parity, peace, health and needs of children with disabilities • Integration of work related attitudes and values in every subject and at all levels • Need to nurture aesthetic sensibility and values
Future Steps • Linkage between school and college syllabi; avoid overlapping • Using the potential of media and new information technology in all subjects • Encouraging flexibility and creativity in all areas of knowledge and its construction by children
Learning and Knowledge • Highlights the value of interaction with: • environment, • peers, • older people to enhance learning; grandpa • Learning tasks must be designed to enable children to seek out knowledge from sites other than textbooks. • Need therefore to move away from the ‘Herbartian’ lesson plan to preparing plans and activities that challenge children to think and try out what they are learning.