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New Delhi: With the Covid crisis forcing students to study through online medium, the central government is now gearing up to digitise textbooks to make them multi-modal, ThePrint has learnt.

The new textbooks that are likely to be ready by next year will have QR (quick response) codes in them so that they can be used for teaching via smart boards, TV and radio.

A QR code is a bar code used for providing easy access to information through a smartphone.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has asked the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to work on preparing such textbooks with QR codes.

“Each textbook should be designed such that it is ready for multi-modal delivery (online smart board, TV, radio) with QR codes tagged to the chapter and hard spots,” the HRD ministry told NCERT in a 23-June letter, which has been accessed by ThePrint.

The NCERT syllabus will also be revised under the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF), which will be in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP).

ThePrint was the first to report last year about the overhaul of textbooks that is about to happen once the NEP is finalised.

Although the government has not yet finalised the NEP, it has asked the NCERT to work on a revised syllabus.

“NCERT is expected to undertake all the ground work related to the preparation of the new NCF on the basis of the Cabinet note on NEP 2020 that was circulated in March 2020,” the ministry letter added.

The NCF is a rule book for preparing textbooks in India. Currently, the textbooks are formulated in accordance with the 2005 NCF. The NCF has been revised four times so far — in 1975, 1988, 2000 and 2005. The new proposed revision will be the fifth of the framework.

Also read: Focus on migrants’ kids, call hostel residents in batches, says NCERT on reopening schools

‘Keep only core content in textbooks’

Speaking about multi-modal textbooks, a ministry official told ThePrint online education is “a very new concept in India and we need to slowly prepare ourselves towards that”. 

“Making our books multi-modal is one step towards that,” he added.

While working on the revised curriculum, the ministry has asked the NCERT to “keep only core content in textbooks”.

“While redesigning textbooks, it is to be ensured that nothing but the core content is placed in the textbooks. Also, the cognitive load of the textbooks is too high. Creative thinking, life skills, Indian ethos, art should be integrated,” the ministry letter said.  

The ministry also pointed out that the learning outcomes appear mismatched with the amount of content in textbooks, especially in higher classes.

The NCERT has been asked to form a committee of subject experts and give an interim report in this regard to the ministry by December 2020.

Also read: This is how govt plans to trim Class 10, 12 syllabus to ease lockdown blow for students


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