Test New Curriculum For Sound Results
A few days ago, the Ministry of Education (MoE) announced the postponement of launching the New Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2075 for school levels, which had earlier declared to implement it from the upcoming academic year. The expression of voices against the NCF from academic stakeholders in the nation has compelled the government to seek genuine feedback to reform it. The NCF does seem advanced in certain parameters, such as it manifests an extensive restructuring in the field of technical and vocational sciences, which is expected to be brought into real practice, and we envision that the new provisions from Grades I to VIII are quite pertinent for producing vibrant citizens in the nation in the days ahead.
It is, however, in the floor of belittling the syllabus of Grade X as it prescribes to scrap the syllabus of Environment Population and Health (EPH). This very shift not only cost the job of thousands of teachers from next year, but it also makes prospective students forfeit the knowledge of the pertinent subject. So, such a move seems to be against the norms of democracy in the nation. In fact, EPH is not only the academic course for students, but it is also a matter of great concern of the world. It therefore demands second thought of the decision makers.
This article highlights amendable provisions of the NCF, which contain several shortcomings for imparting good education through scientific and pragmatic practices, especially in Grades XI and XII. The NCF for General Science Group creates a colossal barrier for students to take both Mathematics, and Biology in Grades XI and XII. In the existing provision, candidates could take Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology/Computer Science in Grade XI, whereas students from Biology group would acquire further knowledge of Mathematics as additional subject in Grade XII. This provision allowed students to pursue either medical science or engineering or both. It also allowed them to study almost any discipline in Bachelor of Science. Barring students from such provisions is a major concern of the stakeholders who claim that it is against the set guidelines of Education Act and Regulations, which proclaims to address the interest, and willingness of students. Albert Einstein noted, ‘Mathematics is the father of all subjects and Science is its queen.’ It is therefore important to keep Mathematics for Science studies learning Science becomes an incomplete endeavour without it.
Similarly, the provision also deliberately abrogates the existing privilege to choose Computer Science as one of the majors for the entire non-Science combinations. The value of Computer Science is reasonably at the zenith across the world. Bill Gates himself asserted, ‘Computer is a great invention because that feedbacks you, which you don’t get from many other things.’ According to the present situation in the nation almost 85-90% SEE graduates go for non-Science disciplines in Grade XI, out of which a vast majority want to purse Computer Science linking it to discipline of information and technology at upper levels. It is a shocking attempt to limit the opportunity of prospective students by forcefully preventing them to study aforementioned subjects in the pre-university levels. In fact, these new provisions seem to be massive hurdles for guaranteeing the rights of education to children according to the spirit of the constitution of Nepal.
It is a remarkable verity that almost all eligible candidates aiming to pursue MBBS and BE have to undergo a painstaking groundwork for entrance examination for several months, even years after graduating the existing high school level. Similarly, it is apparently not easy to get enrolled in reputed colleges or universities opting to study various disciplines of Bachelor’s degrees. So, we envision that the depth of the major subjects in upper school levels still seems less than adequate. It therefore would be beneficial for students if the potency of exiting major subjects were extended instead; for instance, extending to medical biology, and applied engineering courses in Grades XI and XII for Science group would be laudable.
But the newly added compulsory subject, Social Studies in Grades XI and XII, which is also redundantly prescribed as one of the major subjects in Humanities group in the NCF provisions, and another subject, Life Skill Education, will be further cumbersome for the students to deepen their knowledge in the particular fields of studies. Such unnecessarily incorporated provisions will hamper the learning psychology of the targeted group, and produce mediocre students for further level of studies. So, these subjects should be offered as elective ones, and three major subjects should be extended to five instead, or their credit hours must be confined to minor credits in order to increase the credit hours of the major subjects of various categories.
It is relevant to remember American educationist Hilda Taba here who advocated, ‘Teachers are the entire curriculum, and students are their prime subject of concerns.’ Thus, it is imperative to involve teachers for preparing the new curriculum. Finland applied Hilda’s postulation because of which Finish education enjoys a distinct reputation across the world. In addition, the MoE must extensively involve frontline stakeholders such as professors of upper tiers, education policy makers, sociologists, anthropologists, doctors and engineers, bodies of universities of the nation, distinguished business entrepreneurs, and many other concerned individuals for better results.
Besides, the NCF provisions are not analogous to the renowned international programmes such as A-level of Cambridge University, and International Baccalaureate (IB) taught globally. This constraint in provisions will undoubtedly divert students from the course of Grades XI and XII towards A-level and IB programmes, and even to ICSE programme of Indian schools, which are expensive and out of reach for the huge mass of common citizens. Thus, interdisciplinary provisions, as in A-level and IB, among seven groups of disciplines of the NCF, are also stipulated to reform the syllabi of Grades XI and XII.
Thus, before introducing the NCF arbitrarily, the MoE had better go through a comprehensive homework and potential exercises as announced so as to receive constructive feedback from the stakeholders in advance. It is therefore essential for it to seek the scientific tools in addressing the genuine rights of learners in the spirit of democracy in the nation, and relate the research-based findings for implementing the NCF from the next academic year as it involves the endeavours of tens of thousands of juvenile students.