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National Curriculum Framework (NCF):

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Developments in education.



The ‘Mandate Document: Guidelines for the Development of the NCF was recently released.



The National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 recommends the development of National Curriculum Frameworks (NCF) in four areas- School Education, Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Teacher Education and Adult Education.


About the NCF:

The NCF includes the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE), the National Curriculum Framework for Early Childhood Care & Education (NCFECCE), the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE), and the National Curriculum Framework for Adult Education (NCFAE).



The mandate document will bring about a paradigm shift with focus on holistic development of children, emphasis on skilling, vital role of teachers, learning in mother tongue, cultural rootedness. It is also a step towards decolonisation of the Indian education system.


Highlights of the National Education policy:

  1. Public spending on education by states, Centre to be raised to 6% of the GDP.
  2. Ministry of Human Resource Development to be renamed Minister of Education.


Digital Education- related:

  1. An autonomous body, the national educational technology forum, will be created for the exchange of ideas on use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning and administration.
  2. Separate technology unit to develop digital education resources. The new unit will coordinate digital infrastructure, content and capacity building.


Teacher Education- related:

  1. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a four year integrated B.Ed. degree.
  2. Teachers will also be given training in online educational methods relevant to the Indian situation in order to help bridge the digital divide.


School Education- related:

  1. Universalise the pre-primary education (age range of 3-6 years) by 2025.
  2. Universalization of Education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 % GER in school education by 2030.
  3. A new school curriculum with coding and vocational studies from class 6 will be introduced.
  4. A child’s mother tongue will be used as the medium of instruction till class 5.
  5. A new curricular framework is to be introduced, including the preschool and Anganwadi years.
  6. A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will ensure basic skills at the class 3 level by 2025.
  7. Board exams to be easier, redesigned. Exams will test core competencies rather than memorising facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice.
  8. School governance is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools.


Higher Education- related:

  1. Four year undergraduate degrees with multiple entry and exit options will be introduced.
  2. The M.Phil degree will be abolished.
  3. New umbrella regulator for all higher education except medical, legal courses.
  4. An Academic Bank of Credit will be set up to make it easier to transfer between institutions.
  5. College affiliation system to be phased out in 15 years, so that every college develops into either an autonomous degree-granting institution, or a constituent college of a university.
  6. It also aims to double the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035, with an additional 3.5 crore new seats.


Traditional knowledge- related:

  1. Indian knowledge systems, including tribal and indigenous knowledge, will be incorporated into the curriculum in an accurate and scientific manner.


Special focus:

  1. Regions such as aspirational districts, which have large number of students facing economic, social or caste barriers will be designated as ‘Special Educational Zones’.
  2. The Centre will also set up a Gender Inclusion Fund to build the country’s capacity to provide equitable quality education to all girls and transgender students.


Financial support:

Meritorious students belonging to SC, ST, OBC and other socially and economically disadvantaged groups will be given incentives.


New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure:

The NEP proposes changing the existing 10+2 Curricular and Pedagogical Structure with 5+3+3+4 design covering the children in the age group 3-18 years. Under this —

  1. Five years of the Foundational Stage: 3 years of pre-primary school and Grades 1, 2;
  2. Three years of the Preparatory (or Latter Primary) Stage: Grades 3, 4, 5;
  3. Three years of the Middle (or Upper Primary) Stage: Grades 6, 7, 8;
  4. Four years of the High (or Secondary) Stage: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12.


Challenges ahead:

Since education is a concurrent subject most states have their own school boards. Therefore, state governments would have to be brought on board for actual implementation of this decision.



Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of new Pedagogical Structure with 5+3+3+4 design.
  2. What are Special Educational Zones as per the new policy?
  3. Who will set up the Gender Education Fund as per the policy?
  4. Role of the proposed Academic Bank of Credit.
  5. Gross Enrolment Ratio target in higher education?
  6. About the proposed national educational technology forum.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of recently announced New Education Policy 2020.

Sources: the Hindu.