We are not preparing our children for just higher education but for lifelong learning: Edu secy on NCF

NEW DELHI: On Monday, Anita Karwal (secretary, school education), stated that the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), is being constructed against the backdrop of a pandemic which has affected 100% of the country’s children cognitively, mentally, and emotionally (psychomotor skill skills).

The recently released film Kashmir Files was mentioned at a meeting of the National Steering Committee (NFGs), 25 National Focus Groups (NFGs), and the National Steering Committee. An NFG member stated that the new curriculum framework should not suppress information or misportray knowledge about India.

Karwal stated that position papers should be less philosophical, more practical, more functional, and more operational.

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In the focus groups, there is one rule that we must follow. It is important to realize that your position papers are not intended to prepare the child for higher learning. This is because the majority of focus group members come from higher education backgrounds. We prepare them for lifelong learning. We prepare them to be learners.

During the interaction, all 25 groups gave their status. Members also made observations. The meeting also included a mention of Kashmir Files. K Ramasubramanian from IIT Bombay, who is a member of a focus team on Knowledge of India, stated that children will be more confident if there is more emphasis on India than in the NCFs. Ramasubramanian said: “… I’ve seen in the IITs, which was lacking due to the lack of foundation that was laid. That you are capable and willing to do things rather than looking for solutions elsewhere…and this knowledge about India. Today I saw the mail in which someone had sent a clip from Kashmir files. What has happened for so long? This suppresses facts and mis-portrays them. This has been true even with regard to India. This is what I feel strongly about. We will be very careful in formulating what will be formulated to ensure that we don’t make hyperbolic statements that will only be counterproductive.

The secretary stated that the schedule is sacred and that deadlines for State Focus Groups (and NFGs) are April 15 and May 15 respectively. August-September 2022 is the deadline for most functional parts to be ready for use.

Karwal informed members of the 25 NFGs that they are creating the position papers for the national curriculum. He stated that Tuesday will see the start of the largest foundational literacy study in 20 languages. This will help to establish the oral reading fluency, which will aid in the preparation of the framework.

The NCF was also built in the context of the education-related pandemic. “We conducted the National Achievement Survey in November 2012 for approximately 35 lakh children across the country. It was done in 717 districts. In April, we will receive the district report cards. This will tell us exactly where our children are and how the pandemic affected them. We are creating a national curriculum framework against the backdrop of a pandemic that has actually impacted 100% our children, regardless of whether or not they have been exposed to Mohalla classes, had online education, or not. All of them are affected cognitively, mentally, emotionally, psychomotor, and affectively. We are now building an NCF to support that background.”

K Kasturirangan, former ISRO chief, is the head of the 12-member NCF revision exercise’s national steering committee. Kasturirangan stated that the position papers would reflect the spirit of the current National Education Policy. “…emphasis is placed on critical analysis, new curricula, and pedagogical structures, and then ensuring learning and numeracy foundational learning and numerical literacy and then integrating the vocational education. All these should be rooted within India. These are the main characteristics of the types of transitions and paradigm shifts that we expect from the new directions of education,” Kasturirangan said. He added that there is more to it than just reading a set curriculum for physics, chemistry and biology. Each doesn’t look like the other. This is not possible with the current scheme. It is a 15-year-long package of school education. This 15-years is well-structured. Then there are the 25 themes you’re referring to. There must be interconnection. This is the real challenge we must face.

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