The direction that the NCF needs to take

SourceThe Hindu

Relevance: National Curriculum Framework has to include democratic principles.

Synopsis:

Shaping a National Curriculum Framework using only the National Education Policy will be shortsighted.

About the National Curriculum Framework:

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has tasked the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) to develop four State Curriculum Frameworks (SCFs).

They pertain to School Education, Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Teacher Education (TE) and Adult Education (AE). This is as in the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

At the first level, the NCERT will provide templates to the States to develop four draft SCFs, the drafts will feed into formulating the National Curriculum Frameworks, or NCFs, and the final version of the NCFs will be used as guiding documents to finalise the SCFs.

The cycle seems to be designed to take on board suggestions from all States, thereby making the NCFs representative and inclusive documents.

The NCERT will also provide e-templates for each of these tasks, survey questionnaires/multiple-choice questions to conduct surveys, etc. Thus, massive data collection seems to be in progress.

Advantages of NCF:

NCF provides the following advantages. Such as,

  • Flexibility in secondary education, examination reform, more exposure to Indian languages, and taking on board Indian knowledge systems can make our education system better.
What are the challenges with the NCF?
  • The kind of questionnaires and template that one develops can emphasise certain kinds of recommendations while muting some others.
  • A huge opinion gathering exercise preceded NEP 2020. But these opinions are just heaps of words, devoid of any organising principle to decide priorities. A similar unorganised list is repeated in the name of pedagogical recommendations.
  • Similarly, the NEP 2020 fails to provide appropriate criteria to choose pedagogy at different stages and for different curricular areas. Thus, the people developing NCFs have to deal with these issues in addition to finding a method of making proper sense of gathered public opinion.

If the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) is purely guided by the NEP 2020, this is likely to ensure the unsound development of our schoolchildren.

How to improve National Curriculum Framework?

  • The NCF can take help from the Secondary Education Commission Report (SECR) in the 1950s and Zakir Hussain’s Basic National Education (BNE) report.
    • The SECR had all three necessary elements of education. Such as the overall framework of values and future direction, current issues and problems of the education system, and public opinion.
    • The BNE has the rigorous derivation of educational aims from the vision of society, curricular objectives from the aims, and content from the objectives in a clear manner.
    • Both the BNE and the SECR make democracy the basis for working out the school curriculum. But they do not philosophically argue or give the detailed exposition of the method; they make practical use of this approach.
  • The curriculum frameworks developed after the 1980s in our country are completely overwhelmed by the current problems or by the pedagogical ideals of child-centrism. This should be avoided in the present one.

The only way to wrest the judgment from the hands of the powerful is to have the curricular debates rooted in democratic values.

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