Summary of National Curriculum Framework


  • NPE 1986, assigned a special role to NCERT in preparing and promoting NCF.
  • Yash Pal Committee Report, ‘Learning without Burden’ (1993) observes that learning has become a source of burden and stress on children and their parents.
  • Considering these observations, Executive Committee of NCERT decided at its meeting of July 14, 2004, to revise the National Curriculum Framework.
  • The process of development of NCF was initiated in November, 2004 by setting up various structures like National Steering Committee Chaired by Prof. Yash Pal and twenty-one National Focus Groups on themes of curricular areas, systemic reforms and national concerns.
  • Wide ranging deliberations and inputs from multiple sources involving different levels of stakeholders helped in shaping the draft of NCF.
  • The draft NCF was translated into 22 languages listed in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution. The translated versions were widely disseminated and consultations with stakeholders at district and local level helped in developing the final draft.
  • The NCF was approved by Central Advisory Board on Education in September, 2005.

Vision and Perspective

  • To uphold values enshrined in the Constitution of India
  • To reduce of curriculum load
  • To ensure quality education for all
  • To initiate certain systemic changes

 Guiding Principles

  • Connecting knowledge to life outside the School
  • Ensuring that learning is shifted away from rote methods
  • Enriching curriculum so that it goes beyond Text Book
  • Making Examination more flexible and non-threatening
  • Discuss the aims of education
  • Building commitment to democratic values of equality, justice, secularism and freedom.

Focus on child as an active learner

  1. Primacy to children’s experience, their voices and participation
  2. Needs for adults to change their perception of children as passive receiver of knowledge
  3. Children can be active participants in the construction of knowledge and every child come to with pre-knowledge
  4. Children must be encouraged to relate the learning to their immediate environment
  5. Emphasizes that gender, class, creed should not be constraints for the child
  6. Highlights the value of Integration
  7. Designing more challenging activities

Curricular areas, school stages and Assessment

  • Recommends significant changes in Maths, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences
  • Overall view to reduce stress, make education more relevant, meaningful
  1. Languages
  • To implement 3-language formula
  • Emphasis on mother tongue as medium of instruction
  • Curriculum should contain multi-lingual proficiency only if mother tongue is considered as second language
  • Focus on all skills
  1. Mathematics
  • Teaching of Mathematics to focus on child’s resources to think and reason, to visualize abstractions and to solve problems.
  1. Sciences
  • Teaching of science to focus on methods and processes that will nurture thinking process, curiosity and creativity.
  1. Social Sciences
  • Social sciences to be considered from disciplinary perspective with rooms for:
  • Integrated approach in the treatment of significant themes
  • Enabling pedagogic practices for promoting thinking process, decision making and critical reflection.
  1. Draws attention on four other areas
  2. Art Education:covers music, dance, visual arts and theatre which on interactive approaches not instruction aesthetic awareness and enable children to express themselves in different forms.
  3. Health and Physical Education:Health depends upon nutrition and planned physical activities.
  4. Education for Peace:As a precondition to snub growing violence and intolerance
  5. Work and Education:As it can create a social temper and agencies offering work opportunities outside the school should be formally recognized.

School and Classroom environment

  • Critical pre-requisites for improved performance – minimum infrastructure and material facilities and support for planning a flexible daily schedule
  • Focus on nurturing an enabling environment
  • Revisits tradition notions of discipline
  • Discuss needs for providing space to parents and community
  • Discuss other learning sites and resources like Texts and Books, Libraries and laboratories and media and ICT
  • Addresses the need for plurality of material and Teacher autonomy/professional independence to use such material.

 Systemic Reforms

  • Covers needs for academic planning for monitoring quality
  • Teacher education should focus on developing professional identity of the Teacher
  • Examination reforms to reduce psychological stress particularly on children in class X and XII

Examination reforms highlight:

  • Shift from content based testing to problem solving and competency based assessment
  • Examinations of shorter duration
  • Flexible time limit
  • Change in typology of questions
  • No public examination till class VIII
  • Class X board exam to be made optional (in long term)

Teacher Education Reforms emphasize on preparation of teacher to

  1. View learning as a search for meaning out of personal experience, and knowledge generation at a continuously evolving process of reflective learning.
  2. View knowledge not as an external reality embedded in textbooks, but as constructed in the shared context of teaching-learning and personal experience.

Guidelines for Syllabus Development

  1. Development of syllabi and textbooks based on following considerations
  • Appropriateness of topics and themes for relevant stages of children’s development
  • Continuity from one level to the next
  • Pervasive resonance of all the values enshrined in the constitution of India the organization of knowledge in all subjects
  • Inter-disciplinary and thematic linkages between topics listed for different school subjects, which falls under different discrete disciplinary areas.
  • Linkage between school knowledge and concern in all subjects and at all levels
  • Sensitivity to gender, caste, class, peace, health and need of children with disability
  • Integration of work related attitudes and values in every subject and all levels
  • Need to nurture aesthetic sensibility and values
  1. Linkage between school and college syllabi, avoid overlapping
  2. Using potential of media and new information technology in all subjects
  3. Encouraging flexibility and creativity in all areas of knowledge and its construction by children.

Development of Support Material

  • Audio/video programmes on NCF-2005 and textbooks
  • Source-book on learning assessment
  • Exemplar problems in Science and Mathematics
  • Science and Mathematics kits
  • Teachers’ handbooks and manuals.
  • Teacher Training Packages.
  • Developed syllabi and textbooks in new areas such as Heritage Craft, Media Studies, Art Education, Health and Physical Education, etc.
  • Taken various initiatives in the area of ECCE (Early Childhood Care Education), Gender, Inclusive Education, Peace, Vocational Education, Guidance and Counseling, ICT, etc.

Overall Evaluation

NCF 2005 highlights the following aspects:

  • The value of Interaction with environment, peers and older people to enhance learning.
  • That learning task must be designed to enable children to seek knowledge other than text books.
  • The need to move away from “Herbartian” lesson plan to prepare plans and activities that challenge children to think and try out what they are learning.




John Parankimalil, Salient Features of National Curriculum Framework 2005



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