National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, The National Curriculum Framework is one of four National Curriculum Frameworks published in 1975, 1988, 2000 and 2005 by the National Council of Educational Research and Training NCERT in India. The document provides the framework for making syllabi, textbooks and teaching practices within the school education programmes in India.
National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 has been translated into 22 languages and has influenced the syllabi in 17 states. The NCERT gave a grant to each State to promote NCF in the language of the State and to compare its current syllabus with the syllabus proposed, so that a plan for reforms could be made. Several States have taken up this challenge. This exercise is being carried out with the involvement of State Councils for Educational Research and Training(SCERT) and District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET).
The Document is divided into 5 areas:
|2||Learning and Knowledge|
|3||Curriculum Areas, School Stages and Assessment|
|4||School and Classroom Environment|
National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005
As per the directions of the Human Resource development Minister, the NCERT took up the assignment of reviewing the National Curriculum framework for school Education in the light of the report Learning without Burden (1993). A National steering Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Shri. Yash Pal formed 21 National focus groups.
Members of these committees included representatives of institutions of advanced learning, NCERT’s own faculty, school teachers and non-governmental organisations. Deliberations at National and state level and public opinions were invited by giving wide advertisements.
The NCF-2005 begins with a quotation from Tagore’s essay Civilisation and Progress in which the poet reminds us that a ‘creative spirit’ and ‘generous joy’ are key in childhood, both of which can be distorted by an unthinking adult world. Seeking guidance from the constitutional vision of India as a secular, egalitarian and pluralistic society, founded on the values of social justice and equality, certain broad aims of education have been identified in this document NCF-2005.
These include independence of thought and action, sensitivity to others’ well-being and feelings, learning to respond to new situations in a flexible and creative manner, predisposition towards participation in democratic process, and the ability to work towards and contribute to economic processes and social change.
For teaching to serve as a means of strengthening our democratic way of life, it must respond to the presence of first generation school-goers, whose retention is imperative owing to the constitutional amendment that has made elementary education a fundamental right of every child. The fact that learning has become a source of burden and stress on children and their parents is an evidence of a deep distortion in educational aims and quality. To correct this distortion, the present NCF proposes five guiding principles for curriculum development:
i. Connecting knowledge to life outside the school
ii. Ensuring that learning shifts away from rote methods
iii. Enriching the curriculum so that it goes beyond textbooks
iv. Making examinations more flexible and integrating them with classroom life and
v. Nurturing an overriding identity informed by caring concerns within the democratic polity of the country.
The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 was framed keeping the above mentioned guiding principles as to implement many good ideas that have already been articulated in the past.
A brief chapter wise summary of the NCF-2005 is given below:CHAPTER -1
- Strengthening a national system of education in a pluralistic society.
- Reducing the curriculum load based on insights provided in ‘Learning without Burden’.
- Systemic changes in tune with curricular reforms
- Curricular practices based on the values enshrined in the constitution, such as social justice, and equality and secularism.
- Ensuring quality education for all
- Building a citizenry committed to democratic practices, values, sensitivity towards gender justice, problems faced by the scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, needs of the disabled, and capacities to participate in economic and political processes.
- Reorientation in our perception of learners and learning
- Holistic approach in the treatment of learners’ development and learning
- Meeting learning disability needs through data based and need specific programmes.
- Learner engagement for construction of knowledge and fostering creativity.
- Active learning through experiential mode
- Adequate room for voicing children’s thinking, curiosity and questions in curricular practices
- Connecting knowledge across disciplinary boundaries to provide a broader frame for insightful construction of knowledge.
- Forms of learner engagement-observing, exploring, discovering, analysing, critical reflection, etc.-are as important as the content of knowledge.
- Activities for developing critical perspectives on socio-cultural realities need to find space in curricular practices.
- Local knowledge and children’s experiences are essential components of textbooks and pedagaogic practices.
- School years are a period of rapid development with changes and shifts in capabilities, attitudes and interests that have implications for choosing and organising the content and process of knowledge.
- Language skills-speech and listening, reading and writing-cut across school subjects and disciplines. Their foundational role in children’s construction of knowledge right from elementary classes through senior secondary senior secondary classes needs to be recognised.
- A renewed effort should be made to implement the three language formula, emphasising recognition of children’s mother tongue(s) as the best medium of instruction. These include tribal languages.
- Success in learning English is possible only if it builds on sound language pedagogy in the mother tongue.
- The multilingual character of Indian society should be seen as a resource for enrichment of school life.
- Mathematization (ability to think logically, formulate and handle abstractions) rather than ‘knowledge’ of mathematics(formals and mechanical procedures) is the main goal of teaching mathematics.
- The teaching of mathematics should enhance the child’s ability to think and reason, to visualise and handle abstractions, to formulate and solve problems. Access to quality mathematics education is the right of every child.
- Content, process and language of science teaching must be commensurate with learner’s age range and cognitive reach.
- Science teaching should engage the learner in acquiring methods and processes that will nurture their curiosity and creativity, particularly in relation to the environment.
- Science teaching should be placed in the wider context children’s environment to equip them with the requisite knowledge and skills to enter the world of work.
- Awareness of environmental concerns must permeate the entire school curriculum.
- Social science teaching should aim at equipping children with moral and mental energy so as to provide them the ability to think independently and reflect critically on social issues.
- Interdisciplinary approaches, promoting key national concerns such as gender justice, human rights and sensitivity to marginalised groups and minorities.
- Civics should be recast as political science, and significance of history as a shaping influence on the child’s conception of the past and civic identity should be recognised.
- Work should be infused in all subjects from the primary stage upwards
- Agencies and settings offering work opportunities outside the school be formally recognised
- Design of Vocational Education and Training programme is based on the perspective of 10-12 years of work-centred education with in-built features of:
- Flexible and modular courses of varying durations
- Multiple entry and exit points
- Accessibility from the level of village clusters ti district levels.
- Decentralised accreditation and equivalence mechanism for agencies located outside the school system.
- Arts (folk and classical forms of music and dance, visual arts, puppetry, clay work, theatre, etc.) and heritage crafts should be recognised as integral components of the school curriculum
- Awareness of their relevance to personal, social, economic and aesthetic needs should be built among parents, school authorities and administrators.
- The art should comprise a subject at every stage of school education.
- Peace-oriented values should be promoted in all subjects throughout school years with the help of relevant activities.
- Peace education should form a component of teacher education.
- Health and physical education.
- Health and physical education are necessary for the overall development of learners. Through health and physical education programmes (including yoga), it may be possible to handle successfully the issues of enrolment, retention and completion of school.
- Availability of minimum infrastructure and material facilities, and support for planning a flexible daily schedule are critical for improved teacher performance.
- A school culture that nurtures children’s identities as learners’ enhances the potential and interests of each child.
- Specific activities ensuring participation of all children-able and disabled- are essential conditions for learning by all.
- The value of self discipline among learners through democratic functioning is as relevant as ever.
- Participation of community members in sharing knowledge and experience in a subject area helps in forging a partnership between school and community.
- Reconceptualization of learning resources in terms of:
- Textbooks focussed on elaboration of concepts, activities, problems and exercises encouraging reflective thinking and group work.
- Supplementary books, workbooks, teachers’ handbooks etc. based on fresh thinking and new perspectives.
- Multimedia and ICT as sources for two way interaction rather than one way reception.
- School library as an intellectual space for teachers, learners and members of the community to deepen their knowledge and connect with the wider world.
- Decentralised planning of school calendar and daily schedule and autonomy for teacher professionalism practices are basic to creating a learning environment.
- Quality concern a key feature of systemic reform, implies the system’s capacity to reform itself by enhancing its ability to remedy its own weaknesses and to develop new capabilities.
- A broad framework for planning upwards, beginning with schools for identifying focuses areas and subsequent consolidation at the cluster and block levels could form a decentralised planning strategy at the district level.
- Meaningful academic planning has to be done in a participatory manner by Headmasters and teachers.
- Monitoring quality must be seen as a process of sustaining interaction with individual schools in terms of teaching-learning processes.
- Professional training of teachers can be strengthened by linking it to:
- Post-graduate studies in different subjects.
- Provisions for integrated undergraduate studies in teacher education.
- Inclusion of a course on language proficiency as an integral component.
- Engaging the trained with the larger context of education, interacting with children in real contexts and critically questioning their own beliefs about knowledge and learning, gender, caste, equity and justice.
- Shifting the focus from pure disciplinary knowledge to the learner and his/her context.
- In-service education needs to become a catalyst for change in school practices.
- Panchayat Raj system should be strengthened by evolving a
- Mechanism to regulate the functioning of parallel bodies at the village level so that democratic participation in development can be realised.
- Reducing stress and enhancing success in examination necessitate:
- Shift from content-based testing to problem-solving and understanding. For this to happen the present typology of the question paper must change.
- Shift toward shorter examinations
- Setting up of a single nodal agency for coordinating the design and conduct of entrance examinations.
- Availability of multiple textbooks to widen teachers’ choices and provide for the diversity in children’s needs and interests.
- Sharing of teaching experiences and diverse classroom practices to generate new ideas and facilitate innovation and experimentation.
- Development of syllabi, textbooks and teaching learning resources could be carried out in a decentralised and participatory manner involving teachers, experts from universities, NGOs and teachers’ organisations.
CONCLUSION: This framework for curriculum presents a vision of what is desirable for our children. It seeks to enable those who are involved with the bases on which they can make choices that determine the curriculum. This provides an understanding of issues relating to children’s learning, the nature of knowledge and the school as an institution.
This approach to the curriculum draws attention to the importance of the school ethos and culture, the classroom practices of teachers, learning sites outside the school, and learning resources, as much as to the dimensions of the system that exert direct and indirect influence.
The National Policy on Education (NPE, 1986) AND THE Programme of Action (POA, 1992) assigned a pivotal role to NCERT in preparing a National Curriculum Framework (NCF). Preparation of NCF, 2005 was accomplished with the help of a National Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Yash Pal and 21 National Focus Groups on the following themes: –
- Aims of Education
- Systematic Reforms for Curriculum Change
- Teaching of Indian Languages
- Teaching of English
- Teaching of Mathematics
- Teaching of Science
- Teaching of Social Sciences
- Habitat and Learning
- Art, Music, Dance and Theatre
- Heritage Crafts
- Work and Education
- Health and Physical Education
- Early Childhood Education
- Problems of SC & ST Children
- Gender Issued in Education
- Educational Technology
- Education of Groups with Special Needs
- Education for Peace
- Curriculum, Syllabus and Textbooks
- Teacher Education of Curriculum Renewal
- Examination Reforms
Approved by CABE on 7 September 2005, NCF derives its objective of student learning an development from the values enshrined in the Constitution and contemporary concerns for strengthening unity and national identity in a multi=cultural context and enabling the nation to face future challenges. Affirmation of the primacy of an active learner and a distinctive focus on the nature of knowledge given NCF the potential to put the Indian system of education at par with international practices.
Strengthening of a National System of Education with special focus on
- Values enshrined in the Constitution of India;
- Reduction of curriculum load;
- Ensuring quality Education For All (EFA);
- Systemic changes;
- Common school system.
Guiding Principles of Curriculum Development
- Connecting knowledge to life outside school;
- Ensuring that learning is shifted away from rote methods;
- Enriching the curriculum to provide for overall development of children rather than remain textbook centric;
- Making examinations more flexible and integrated with classroom life; and
- Nurturing an overriding identity informed by caring concerns within the democratic polity of the country.
Learning and Knowledge
- Correspondence between learner development and learning is intrinsic to curricular practices;
- Knowledge is different from information;
- Organizing learning experiences for construction of knowledgeand fostering creativity;
- Connecting knowledge across disciplinary boundaries for insightful construction of knowledge;
- Learning experiences for developing critical perspectives on social issues;
- Plurality of textbooks and other material incorporating local knowledge mediated through Constitutional values and principles.
- Implementation of three language formula with renewed efforts;
- The idea that home language / mother tongue as the best to medium to build a foundation for education applies to tribal languages as well;
- Multi-lingual character of Indian society is a resource for promoting language proficiency;
- Teaching mathematics to focus on developing child’s resources to think and reason, to visualize abstractions and to formulate and solve problems;
- Teaching of Science to be recast to enable learners to acquire methods and processes that will nurture thinking process, curiosity and creativity;
- Social Sciences to be considered from disciplinary perspective while emphasizing integrated approach in the treatment of significant themes;
- Enabling pedagogic practices are critical for developing thinking process, decision making and critical reflections on social issues;
- The arts and heritage crafts, and health and physical education to form critical components of school curriculum.
- Professional planning and significant expansion of early childhood care and education;
- Concerns and issues pertaining to environment, peace oriented values, and sensitivity towards gender parity and towards SC and ST, and minorities must inform all subjects and school experiences.
- Teaching is a professional activity;
- Availability of minimum infrastructure and material facilities for mproved teacher performance;
- Locally planned, flexible school calendars and time tables;
- Reconceptualisation of textbooks, teachers’ handbooks and other material based on new perspectives and access to interactive technologies;
- Strengthening the Panchayati Raj Institutions and encouraging community participation for enhancing quality and accountability;
- Teacher education programmes to be recast to reflect professionalism in the process of training and teaching;
- Productive work as pedagogic medium in the school curriculum from pre-primary to senior secondary stages;
- Vocational education and training to be conceived and implemented in a mission mode;
- Examination reforms highlight –
1. shift from content based testing to problem solving and competency based assessment, examinations of shorter duration, and
2. flexible time limit;
- Partnerships between the school system and other civil society groups – NGOs and teacher organisations etc. for moving ahead.
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