NEW DELHI: Three languages till class X with two mandatory native Indian languages, two languages in classes XI and XII one of which is to be native Indian language, and shifting from current system of study in annual and two-year patterns to a semester and/ or annual design, including on-demand exam are some of the key changes recommended in the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for school education.
Another big change is the assessment system, where to get a class XII certificate a student now will have to qualify in at least six subjects with an option to pursue an additional subject. The document also stated that education Boards should work towards certification “through modular examinations to be taken immediately after the course is taken in school,” starting with at least offering Class X and XII Board exams at least on two occasions in a year and retaining the best score.
Union education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan handed over the NCF to the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) on Wednesday during the joint meeting of the National Oversight Committee (NOC) and National Syllabus and Teaching-Learning Material Committee (NSTC), thereby paving the way for the development of the school syllabus and textbooks.
As per the curricular structure for classes IX and X, all schools need to offer three languages and “at least two of which are native to India.” Apart from the three languages, students are to study seven other subjects from the groupings of mathematics and computational thinking, social science, science, art education, physical education and well-being, vocational education, and interdisciplinary areas. However, public exams will be conducted for seven subjects, including the languages, while for art education, physical education and well-being, vocational education the mode of assessment will be “internal exam with external examiner”.
Currently, for classes XI and XII study of only one language is mandatory. Drawing from the National Education Policy 2020 which has prioritised education in Indian languages, a student will now study two languages, at least one of which is native to India. Apart from the two languages, students will choose four subjects from at least two of the three groups. The groups are classified as “Group 2: Art Education, Physical Education and Well-being, Vocational Education;” “Group 3: Social Science and Humanities, Interdisciplinary Areas;” and “Group 4: Science, Mathematics and Computational Thinking.” Students are also allowed to opt for an additional subject. Under each domain area of a group, for example Social Science students will have the option to opt for history, geography, political science, psychology, psychology and mental health, and economics, among others.
Changing the nomenclature of the current secondary and senior secondary into one secondary stage divided into two phases — classes IX and X, and classes XI and XII, the NCF recommends “four years of multidisciplinary study” across all curricular areas.
To allow for greater flexibility in the design of courses as well as course options for students, the NCF stresses on “semester and/or annual design” from the current “annual and two-year patterns.”
Calling for a systemic reform in the assessments and to make the board exams “easier” from the current “high stakes” practice, the NCF stated that Board exams for classes X and XII “will also be substantially reformed.” Under the new system, Board exams are to be offered at least on two occasions in any given school year “with only the best score being retained.”
However, the final goal is to make subject-wise Board examinations immediately available after the ‘school term’ (i.e., ‘semester-wise’ or ‘on-demand’ Board examinations).

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