According to the final National Curriculum Framework (NCF) released by the NCERT earlier this week, board exams should be held twice a year, and there should be no restriction on students choosing subjects within streams such as science or commerce.
This process could be made possible through the creation of a comprehensive test item bank which can be used to create tests using suitable software, the framework says. This will enable the movement towards a system of on-demand examinations in the near future as described in NEP 2020, it further stated.
Also, students of classes 11 and 12 will have to study two languages including one of Indian origin.
Presently, only one language is taught to students in classes 11 and 12 in CBSE schools. It means the addition of a language will increase one more subject in these classes.
The NCF defines benchmarks for NCERT textbooks taught in CBSE-affiliated schools in classes 3 to 12, teaching and learning practices, and assessment methods adopted by the schools.
The NCF, which has been drafted by the union government-appointed national steering committee headed by former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) K Kasturirangan, is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The NEP emphasises on teaching Indian languages and offering them as medium of instruction in school and higher education.
The new curriculum is tipped to fill the gaps observed in the school education system over the years and align with good global practices. Among the glaring shortcomings in the contemporary framework of assessment of the students’ capabilities and capacities is the fact that it promotes rote learning. The other limitation is that it is based entirely on their performance in the annual examinations rather than on their holistic development and progress. Board exams for classes X and XII have, consequently, turned into a stressful exercise for the examinees.
The framework is ultimately intended to provide exams to the students on demand. This in a sense is commendable as it would facilitate them to take the exam whenever they feel ready for it and the scores would reflect student’s real competencies rather than being just a rote learning.
However, it remains to be seen how the transition to the new framework, to be in place from the 2024 academic session, pans out. Nevertheless it entails a lot of additional work for the teachers and other staff with new textbooks to be prepared.