New Delhi: A central government committee set up last year to develop a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) is holding consultations with religious organisations to incorporate their “best practices” into the framework, ThePrint has learnt.
The other groups being consulted include NGOs, corporates, teachers, teacher educators, and parents, among others.
The NCF will be a blueprint for school syllabi across the country. The curriculum framework currently referred to in India is a 2005 document. The new National Education Policy (NEP), approved by the Union cabinet in 2020, mandates the formulation of a new NCF.
The NCF committee is being led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Kasturirangan, who also headed the body tasked with formulating the NEP 2020. The exercise is being carried out under the supervision of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which works on the school-level curriculum.
Sources within the NCERT told ThePrint that the committee has, so far, held talks with at least 20 religious groups, including the Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission, Aurobindo Ashram, Saraswati Vidya Mandir, two Christian missionary organisations based in Chennai, Alim Madrasah, which runs registered madrasas across the country, and other religious organisations that run educational institutions.
Confirming the development, NCERT director Dinesh Prasad Saklani told ThePrint, “The NCF is an exhaustive exercise and discussions are being held with as many groups as possible. The steering committee has recently held discussions with a number of religious groups to learn their good practices.”
So far, the NCF steering committee has held two such meetings. The latest one was on 28 June in Bengaluru.
According to a source who was present in the meeting, the various religious groups gave presentations on the “best practices” adopted by them in their schools, such as “how they connect with the community directly and the way they teach their students”.
“A lot of things that these groups are implementing are already in line with NEP 2020, like focussing on a student’s cognitive skills, and teaching them spirituality and values,” the source said, adding that the NCF steering committee is looking to imbibe such ideas.
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Roadmap to develop framework
A mandate document released in April, which gives a roadmap on the development of the NCF, says that the new curriculum should be aimed at helping students “develop foundational literacy and numeracy, constitutional and other human values, including gender equality, 21st-century capacities, including speaking, writing, multilingualism, scientific temper, artistry, and aesthetics, problem-solving, sustainable living, cultural literacy, socio-emotional capacities, and, the ability to continue to learn on one’s own over a lifetime, and preparedness for higher education and gainful employment.”
In a press release Sunday, the Ministry of Education expressed its intent to take into account public feedback on the matter.
“Government of India has planned to invite views of various stakeholders through an online public consultation survey, which will be instrumental in collating very useful and crucial inputs for the formulation of the National Curriculum Framework and also to subsequently designing syllabus, textbooks and other instructional materials (sic),” the note said.
“All stakeholders, including teachers, headmasters/ principals, school leaders, educationists, parents, students, community members, NGOs, experts, public representatives, artists, artisans, farmers, and anybody who has an interest in school education and teacher education are invited to participate in this online survey,” it added.
(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)
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