Not reduced, need revamped program, experts say as NCERT reviews program reduction

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As the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) plans to streamline curricula for students in the next school year, experts say it’s time to look beyond simply scrapping topics and chapters. While some favor revamping textbooks with a new-age perspective, others have expressed concern and demand careful curation of curricula that meets constitutional standards and is aligned with learning criteria.

Sarah, a class 12 student at Amity International School, Sector 43, Gurugram, said any lesser curriculum will push students into a ‘comfort zone’ and that there is a need to ‘modify’ the existing curriculum instead.

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It is essential to keep in mind that narrowing the curriculum is not as important as identifying the key skills required for students. The focus should be on carefully thought out and sequenced learning progressions to give meaning to students’ learning journey, said Dr Sridhar G, Founder of Deeksha STEM School. The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) which we hope will be implemented from the 2023-24 academic year, will modify the existing version of the books anyway.

Entry aspirants still go beyond the NCERT

Reducing only the curriculum taught in school can indeed add pressure from students, especially those aiming for entrance exams like JEE and NEET. These students study beyond textbooks.

“Reducing the program to a lower or higher level will certainly have an impact. Especially with NEET and JEE, which depend on the full NCERT curriculum, students must study independently of the reduction in the program,” said WR David, Director (CBSE) , JAIN International Residential School, Bengaluru.

Cutting back won’t help much because children have to learn outside of their textbooks anyway, says Rachna Rai, PGT English, Amity International School, Sector 6, Vasundhra, Ghaziabad. “The knowledge acquisition of today’s learners is not simply based on textual input. They now rely on multiple sources to gather information.”

A long-term solution is needed

Rather than a one-time adjustment, it is necessary to put in place a “system capable of adapting and improving the curriculum, teaching-learning practices, assessment methods to make education an enriching experience “, said Sharada Jaidev, Associate Manager (Senior School) – Ekya Learning Centre, Bangalore.

The program, however, needs to be carefully planned for the long term and not just because of the pandemic, adds Jaidev. “A short-term solution will only solve part of the problem and address immediate needs, but not the lasting impact of the pandemic. Any education system should see adversities like this as an opportunity to reform and change practices,” he added.

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