04 January, 2017

NCF- 2005

The Executive Committee of NCERT had taken the decision, at its meeting held on 14 and 19 July 2004, to revise the National Curriculum Framework, following the statement made by the Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development in the Lok Sabha that the Council should take up such a revision. Subsequently, the Education Secretary, Ministry of HRD communicated to the Director of NCERT the need to review the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE – 2000) in the light of the report, Learning Without Burden (1993).
In the context of these decisions, a National Steering Committee, chaired by Prof. Yash Pal, and 21 National Focus Groups were set up. Membership of these committees included representatives of institutions of advanced learning, NCERT’s own faculty, school teachers and non-governmental organisations. Consultations were held in all parts of the country, in addition to five major regional seminars held at the NCERT’s Regional Institute of Education in Mysore, Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar and Shillong. Consultations with state Secretaries, SCERTs and examination boards were carried out. A national conference of rural teachers was organised to seek their advice. Advertisements were issued in national and regional newspapers inviting public opinion, and a large number of responses were received. The revised National Curriculum Framework (NCF) opens with a quotation from Rabindranath 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. The opening chapter discusses curricular reform efforts made since Independence. The National Policy on Education (NPE, 1986) proposed the National Curriculum Framework as a means of evolving a national system of education, recommending a core component derived from the vision of national development enshrined in the Constitution. The Programme of Action (POA, 1992) elaborated this focus by emphasising relevance, flexibility and quality. 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. 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 processes, 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. Ensuring health, nutrition and an inclusive school environment empowering all children in their learning, across differences of caste, religion, gender, disability, is enjoined upon us by the Constitutional amendment. 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. All our pedagogic efforts during the primary classes greatly depend on professional planning and the significant expansion of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Indeed, the revision of primary school syllabi and textbooks needs to be undertaken in the light of the well-known principles of ECCE. The nature of knowledge and children’s own strategies of learning are discussed in Chapter 2, which formulates a theoretical basis for the recommendations made in Chapter 3 in the different curricular areas. The fact that knowledge is constructed by the child implies that curricula, syllabi and textbooks should enable the teacher in organising classroom experiences in consonance with the child’s nature and environment, and thus providing opportunities for all children. Teaching should aim at enhancing children’s natural desire and strategies to learn. Knowledge needs to be distinguished from information, and teaching needs to be seen as a professional activity, not as coaching for memorisation or as transmission of facts. Activity is the heart of the child’s attempt to make sense of the world around him/her. Therefore, every resource must be deployed to enable children to express themselves, handle objects, explore their natural and social milieu, and to grow up healthy. If children’s classroom experiences are to be organised in a manner that permits them to construct knowledge, then our school system requires substantial systemic reforms (Chapter 5) and reconceptualisation of curricular areas or school subjects (Chapter 3) and resources to improve the quality of the school ethos (Chapter 4). In all the four familiar areas of the school curriculum, i.e. language, mathematics, science and social sciences, significant changes are recommended with a view to making education more relevant to the present day and future needs, and in order to alleviate the stress with which children are coping today. This NCF recommends the softening of subject boundaries so that children can get a taste of integrated knowledge and the joy of understanding. In addition, plurality of textbooks and other material, which could incorporate local knowledge and traditional skills, and a stimulating school environment viii that responds to the child’s home and community environment, are also suggested. In language, a renewed attempt to implement the three-language formula is suggested, along with an emphasis on the recognition of children’s mother tongues, including tribal languages, as the best medium of education. The multilingual character of Indian society should be seen as a resource to promote multilingual proficiency in every child, which includes proficiency in English. This is possible only if learning builds on a sound language pedagogy in the mother tongue. Reading and writing, listening and speech, contribute to the child’s progress in all curricular areas and must be the basis for curriculum planning. Emphasis on reading throughout the primary classes is necessary to give every child a solid foundation for school learning. The teaching of mathematics should enhance the child’s resources to think and reason, to visualise and handle abstractions, to formulate and solve problems. This broad spectrum of aims can be covered by teaching relevant and important mathematics embedded in the child’s experience. Succeeding in mathematics should be seen as the right of every child. For this, widening its scope and relating it to other subjects is essential. The infrastructural challenge involved in making available computer hardware, and software and connectivity to every school should be pursued. The teaching of science should be recast so that it enables children to examine and analyse everyday experiences. Concerns and issues pertaining to the environment should be emphasised in every subject and through a wide range of activities involving outdoor project work. Some of the information and understanding flowing from such projects could contribute to the elaboration of a publicly accessible, transparent database on India’s environment, which would in turn become a most valuable educational resource. If well planned, many of these student projects could lead to knowledge generation. A social movement along the lines of Children’s Science Congress should be visualised in order to promote discovery learning across the nation, and eventually throughout South Asia. In the social sciences, the approach proposed in the NCF recognises disciplinary markers while emphasising integration on significant themes, such as water. A paradigm shift is recommended, proposing the study of the social sciences from the perspective of marginalised groups. Gender justice and a sensitivity towards issues related to SC and ST communities and minority sensibilities must inform all sectors of the social sciences. Civics should be recast as political science, and the significance of history as a shaping influence on the child’s conception of the past and civic identity should be recognised. This NCF draws attention to four other curricular areas: work, the arts and heritage crafts, health and physical education, and peace. In the context of work, certain radical steps to link learning with work from the pre-primary stage upwards are suggested on the ix ground that work transfor ms knowledge into experience and generates important personal and social values, such as self-reliance, creativity and cooperation. It also inspires new forms of knowledge and creativity. At the senior level, a strategy to formally recognise out-of-school resources for work is recommended to benefit children who opt for livelihood-related education. Such out-of-school agencies need accreditation so that they can provide ‘work benches’ where children can work with tools and other resources. Craft mapping is recommended to identify zones where vocational training in craft for ms involving local craftpersons can be made available to children. Art as a subject at all stages is recommended, covering all four major spheres, i.e. music, dance, visual arts and theatre. The emphasis should be on interactive approaches, not instruction, because the goal of art education is to promote aesthetic and personal awareness and the ability to express oneself in different forms. The importance of India’s heritage crafts, both in terms of their economic and aesthetic values, should be recognised as being relevant to school education. The child’s success at school depends on nutrition and well-planned physical activity programmes, hence resources and school time must be deployed for the strengthening of the midday meal programme. Special efforts are needed to ensure that girls receive as much attention in health and physical education programmes as boys from the pre-school stage upwards. Peace as a precondition for national development and as a social temper is proposed as a comprehensive value framework that has immense relevance today in view of the growing tendency across the world towards intolerance and violence as a way of resolving conflicts. The potential of peace education for socialising children into a democratic and just culture can be actualised through appropriate activities and a judicious choice of topics in all subjects and at all stages. Peace education as an area of study is recommended for inclusion in the curriculum for teacher education. The school ethos is discussed as a dimension of the curriculum as it predisposes the child towards the aims of education and strategies of learning necessary for success at school. As a resource, school time needs to be planned in a flexible manner. Locally planned and flexible school calendars and time tables which permit time slots of different lengths required for different kinds of activities, such as project work and outdoor excursions to natural and heritage sites, are recommended. Efforts are required for preparing more learning resources for children, especially books and reference materials in regional languages, for school and teacher reference libraries, and for access to interactive rather than disseminative technologies. The NCF emphasises the importance of multiplicity and fluidity x of options at the senior secondary level, discouraging the entrenched tendency to place children in fixed streams, and limiting opportunities of children, especially from the rural areas. In the context of systemic reforms, this document emphasises strengthening Panchayati Raj institutions by the adoption of a more streamlined approach to encourage community participation as a means of enhancing quality and accountability. A variety of school-based projects pertaining to the environment could help create the knowledge base for the Panchayati Raj institutions to better manage and regenerate local environmental resources. Academic planning and leadership at the school level is essential for improving quality and strategic differentiation of roles is necessary at block and cluster levels. In teacher education, radical steps are required to reverse the recent trend towards the dilution of professional norms as recommended by the Chattopadhyaya Commission (1984). Pre-service training programmes need to be more comprehensive and lengthy, incorporating sufficient opportunities for observation of children and integration of pedagogic theory with practice through school internship. Examination reforms constitute the most important systemic measure to be taken for curricular renewal and to find a remedy for the growing problem of psychological pressure that children and their parents feel, especially in Classes X and XII. Specific measures include changing the typology of the question paper so that reasoning and creative abilities replace memorisation as the basis of evaluation, and integration of examinations with classroom life by encouraging transparency and internal assessment. The stress on pre-board examinations must be reversed, and strategies enabling children to opt for different levels of attainment should be encouraged to overcome the present system of generalised classification into ‘pass’ and ‘fail’ categories. Finally, the document recommends partnerships between the school system and other civil society groups, including non-governmental organisations and teacher organisations. The innovative experiences already available should be mainstreamed, and awareness of the challenges implied in the Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) should become a subject of wide-ranging cooperation between the state and all agencies concerned about children. 



• 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, equality, and secularism.
• Ensuring quality education for all children. 
• 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 of our perception of learners and learning. 
• Holistic approach in the treatment of learners' development and learning. 
• Creating an inclusive environment in the classroom for all students. 
• Learner engagement for construction of knowledge and fostering of creativity. 
• Active learning through the experiential mode. 
• Adequate room for voicing children's thoughts, curiosity, and questions in curricular practices. 
• Connecting knowledge across disciplinary boundaries to provide a broader frame work 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 text books and pedagogic practices. 
• Children engaged in undertaking environment-related projects may contribute to generation of knowledge that could help create a transparent public database on India's environment. 
• The school years are a period of rapid development, with changes and shifts in children's 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 classes needs to be recognised. 
• A renewed effort should be made to implement the three-language formula, emphasising the recognition of children's home language(s) or mother tongue(s) as the best medium of instruction. These include tribal languages. 
• English needs to find its place along with other Indian languages. 
• The multilingual character of Indian society should be seen as a resource for the enrichment of school life. 
• Mathematisation (ability to think logically, formulate and handle abstractions) rather than 'knowledge' of mathematics (formal and mechanical procedures) is the main goal of teaching mathematics. 
• The teaching of mathematics should enhance children'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 the learner's age-range and cognitive reach. 
• Science teaching should engage the learners 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 of 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 Sciences 
• Social science content needs to focus on conceptual understanding rather than lining up facts to be memorised for examination, and should equip children with 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 the significance of history as a shaping influence on the children's conception of the past and civic identity should be recognised.
• School curricula from the pre-primary stage to the senior secondary stage need to be reconstructed to realise the pedagogic potential of work as a pedagogic medium in knowledge acquisition, developing values and multiple-skill formation.
• 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 arts should comprise a subject at every stage of school education.
• Peace-oriented values should be promoted in all subjects throughout the school yearswith 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.
Habitat and Learning
• Environmental education may be best pursued by infusing the issues and concerns of the environment into the teaching of different disciplines at all levels while ensuring that adequate time is earmarked for pertinent activities. 


• 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 — abled 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.
• Reconceptualisation of learning resources in terms of - textbooks focused 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. 
• It is desirable to evolve a common school system to ensure comparable quality in different regions of the country and also to ensure that when children of different backgrounds study together, it improves the overall quality of learning and enriches the school ethos. 
• A broad framework for planning upwards, beginning with schools for identifying focus 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. 
• Teacher education programmes need to be reformulated and strengthened so that the teacher can be an : - encouraging, supportive and humane facilitator in teaching–learning situations to enable learners (students) to discover their talents, to realise their physical and intellectual potentialities to the fullest, to develop character and desirable social and human values to function as responsible citizens; and - active member of a group of persons who make conscious efforts for curricular renewal so that it is relevant to changing social needs and the personal needs of learners. 
• Reformulated teacher education programmes that place thrust on the active involvement of learners in the process of knowledge construction, shared context of learning, teacher as a facilitator of knowledge construction, multidisciplinary nature of knowledge of teacher education, integration theory and practice dimensions, and engagement with issues and concerns of contemporary Indian society from a critical perspective. 
• Centrality of language proficiency in teacher education and an integrated model of teacher education for strengthening professionalisation of teachers assume significance. 
• In-service education needs to become a catalyst for change in school practices. 
• The Panchayati 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 examinations necessitate: - a shift away from content-based testing to problem solving skills and understanding. The prevailing typology of questions asked needs a radical change. - a shift towards shorter examinations.- an examination with a 'flexible time limit'. - setting up of a single nodal agency for coordinating the design and conduct of entrance examinations. 
• Institutionalisation of work-centred education as an integrated part of the school curriculum from the pre-primary to the +2 stage is expected to lay the necessary foundation for reconceptualising and restructuring vocational education to meet the challenges of a globalised economy.
• Vocational Education and Training (VET) need to be conceived and implemented in a mission mode, involving the establishment of separate VET centres and institutions from the level of village clusters and blocks to sub-divisional/district towns and metropolitan areas in collaboration with the nation wide spectrum of facilities already existing in this sector. 
• 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.