States and Center ‘must act urgently’ to address ‘tremendous learning loss’ among students due to disruptions to regular teaching and learning caused by the pandemic over the past two years, a high-level committee set up to review the country. school curriculum advised.
The committee, led by Professor Manjul Bhargava of Princeton University, observed that authorities do not need to wait for the curriculum review exercises to end to start helping students recover their learnings.
The observations are part of a “mandate document” released by Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in Bengaluru on Friday. The terms of reference document will serve as a guide for experts working on the revision of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for which a deadline of December 2022 has been set.
“While the NCF is being developed, the country’s education system continues to have important, urgent and important priorities. The pandemic has resulted in a huge “learning loss” among the vast majority of our children, and the States and the Center must act with urgency and great focus to recover this lost learning over the next 12 months.
“This mandate document recognizes and endorses the urgency of these priorities. It encourages the development of teaching-learning materials (such as graded readers to address fundamental learning in the languages of India), training programs and all other relevant initiatives for the effective implementation of these priorities. development of the NCF, and can continue as a parallel process, informed by a sound pedagogical understanding of the reality on the ground,” the document states.
The mandate group’s observations come at a time when the Department for Education is preparing to release the results of the National Achievement Survey (NAS) which is expected to capture the extent of learning loss among children.
The mandate group has set February 28, 2023 as the deadline for the revision of lesson plans based on the new CNC. And by October 30, 2023, NCERT books based on the new programs should be ready, they recommended.
The “key deliverables” of the new curriculum, according to the commissioned group, will be the development of basic literacy and numeracy among students in Class III, “constitutional values, including gender equality”, “the rootedness and pride in India” and a “sense of service or sewa to others in need”, scientific temperament among others.
When releasing the document, Pradhan said the revised NCF will be an instrument to “decolonize our education system.”
“After 1947, we adopted a methodology on our learning and teaching process where the method was devised by a set of people who were supposed to govern us. Let’s decolonize our education system. This document should be the instrument for transformational change in livelihoods and dignity,” said Pradhan.
Referring to the decision of opposition led states such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu to design their own education policies, Pradhan said he has no objection to such a move.
“The NEP is not a Cabinet document. It was written by experts. They emphasized the local language in the NEP. Doesn’t the government of West Bengal intend to teach its students in the local language? I don’t think they will have a problem with that,” Pradhan said.