The new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for children between ages 3 and 8 was launched in Delhi by the union education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan. This is the first such integrated curriculum for young children in our country. Pradhan said NCF will have 4 stages - foundation/early childhood care, and education for preparatory, middle and secondary levels. He stated, “It was the most important and challenging task to develop the first framework for the foundational stage because researches have shown that over 85% of an individual’s brain development occurs by ages 6-8 years. Therefore, it is very important what they should be taught and learn in that age group.” He added that textbooks and learning material for the foundational stage will be prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) based on this framework by January 2023.
As per the document, there should not be any prescribed textbooks for children of ages 3 to 6. For teaching children in the foundation stage, NCF has prescribed story-based, project-based, and other eclectic approaches. Learning based on toys, play, real-life experiences, stories, with observation-based and creativity analysis assessments, are some of the key features of the foundational curriculum framework.
Textbooks can be introduced to students between ages 6 to 8. Recommending digital and audio-visual material references, the document stated that apart from containing content for classroom instruction, the textbooks should also act as workbooks. This would give opportunities for children to work on their own and would also serve as records of their work. Textbooks should avoid stereotypes such as women working in the kitchen, and dark-skinned people depicted as evil. Teachers should supplement the textbook with worksheets where necessary and appropriate. NCF also emphasised on empowering teachers in terms of training, infrastructure, and also gave pointers on how the learning environment should be designed. It also stated that regional variations need to find adequate representations in textbooks. This framework will be the basis for all pedagogy adopted by schools, pre-schools, and anganwadis for children studying between nursery and grade 2.
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Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.