What is NCF 2023? Know all new features of the National Curriculum Framework

The National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2023) is a document that sets the rules and regulations to implement NEP 2020, here is everything you should know about it.

NCF 2023: The Ministry of Education on 6th April 2023 released the draft of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2023 asking for suggestions and feedback from stakeholders including educational institutions, subject experts, teachers, students, and parents.

The NCF 2023 is a document that shows the rules, guidelines, and steps to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, where National Education Policy sets the overall structure in which direction the education system will work.

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The NCF 2023 sets the guidelines based on which textbooks are developed by NCERT, subject choices, examination patterns, and the evaluation process is designed. The NCF is framed by a committee led by ISRO chairperson K Kasturirangan. Other members of the 12-member committee include Manjul Bhargava (Fields Medal recipient), Michel Danino (author of ‘The Lost River: On the Trail of Saraswati’), Najma Akhtar (Jamia Millia Islamia University Vice-Chancellor), and T V Kattimani (Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh Vice-Chancellor).

What is NCF 2023?

The NCF 2023 for School Education has been developed to enable the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which is based on the vision of the government of India. The NCF is designed to address education for the age group 3 to 18 years, across the entire range of diverse institutions in India. The NEP aims to provide a holistic and multidisciplinary education that will develop the full range of human capacities, values, and dispositions. The NCF 2023 brings to life the aims and commitments of the NEP.

The 5+3+3+4 curricular and pedagogical structure of school education is reflected in the learning standards, the content, the pedagogy, and the assessment approaches. It is integrative and holistic with equal status to all subjects and learning domains from Math to Sports. It confronts and addresses real challenges facing India’s education system, notably that of literacy and numeracy, rote memorization, narrow goals, and inadequate resources.

The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) aims to devise four National Curriculum Frameworks (NCFs):

  • National Curriculum Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCFECCE)
  • National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE)
  • National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE)
  • National Curriculum Framework for Adult Education (NCFAE)

The draft frameworks on early childhood care and education and school education have already been prepared.

Why do we need NCF 2023?

The NCF 2023 is needed to transform India’s school education system in line with NEP 2020 by making positive changes to the curriculum and pedagogy. The focus is on changing educational practices rather than just ideas, which include the school environment and culture. The goal is a holistic transformation of the curriculum to improve learning experiences for students.

The NCF 2023 is designed to be understandable and usable by practitioners of education, with the teacher as the primary focus since they are at the heart of education. The NCF 2023 adopts a presentation style and structure that is accessible and relevant, with different levels of detail and real-life illustrations to enable practice. It accounts for the reality of the current institution and teacher while being aspirational, deeply rooted in context but aligned with the best-resourced institutions.

Key features of NCF 2023

  1. Goal-directed: The entire approach is driven by the curricular goals which are derived from the aims; these tie everything together and are center stage.
  2. Practice enabling: It attempts to convert and distill matters to practice which is where education happens or doesn’t.
  3. Educationally valid: It’s based on sound research, experience, and accumulated knowledge in India and across the world.
  4. Engaging: Education must be made interesting and exciting both to the children and teachers.
  5. Improvement driving: Must be able to change things on the ground within practical constraints and limitations and keep moving forward.
  6. Diversity embracing: India’s diversity in all its forms must not only be addressed but should also become a resource for learning.
  7. Mutually reinforcing elements: All dimensions mentioned above are mutually reinforcing; as are the curricular goals, content, pedagogy, school culture and practices, assessment and evaluation.

What changes will NCF 2023 bring to the education system of India?

The current structure which consists of 10+2 is now restructured to a new 4-stage i.e 5+3+3+4 structure. As per the new structure, the four stages are-

  • Foundation stage for kindergarten to class 2
  • Preparatory stage for class 3 to class 5
  • Middle stage for class 6 to class 8
  • Secondary stage for class 9 to class 12

Proposed changes at the Foundation stage

  • The NCF suggests a play-based pedagogical approach to teaching for children aged 3-8 enrolled in grades between preschool and class II.
  • Textbooks will have to be used from Grade 1 and most of the content should be concrete materials – toys, puzzles, and manipulatives

Proposed changes at the preparatory stage

  • For the preparatory stage, students should be introduced to textbooks on languages, and mathematics, while also continuing with an activity and discovery-based approach.

Proposed changes at the Middle stage

  • In the middle stage, natural as well as social sciences will be introduced.
  • As per the NCF, the textbooks need to play a central role in mediating the content in the Middle Stage.

Proposed changes at the Secondary stage

  • Over two years, in classes IX and X, the students will have to study 16 courses categorized under eight curricular areas.
  • Students will be given a choice to pick 16 courses from eight curricular areas.
  • The suggested curricular areas are Humanities (that includes languages), Mathematics & Computing, Vocational Education, Physical Education, Arts, Social Science, Science, and Inter-disciplinary Areas.

Under the current academic structure, there is no link between class 9 and class 10, and pass at least five subjects to clear class X. But now students will have to clear eight board exams to obtain the final certification which will factor into their performances in exams held over two years. Each of these exams will assess their hold on courses they learned in classes IX and X and the final certification will be based on the cumulative result of each of the examinations.

The government has not yet announced a specific timeline for the implementation of the changes on exams, assessments, and subject design has not been made available but has announced that textbooks based on the revised NCF will be taught in schools starting from the 2024-25 academic session. To read the official document of NCF 2023, Click Here.

For more education news and updates, click here.

Partha Pratim Das

Partha is a Co-Founder of Bohikitap. He has recently completed his post graduation in Mathematics. He has been a member of Bohikitap since the very beginning and contributes to content preparations and management. He keeps a good interest in music and sports as well.
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