Recommendations Of NCF 2005
In order that education may be relevant to the present and future needs, NCF 2005 recommends that:
- Subject boundaries be softened leading to integrated knowledge and understanding
- Textbooks and other material should incorporate local knowledge and traditional skills
- School should provide a stimulating environment that responds to the child's home and community environment
While textbooks continue to be produced, NCERT's concern was to provide affordable books reflecting the change in thought, policy and social aspirations. The Preamble to the Constitution of India was its mainstay. Students in different classrooms require constant readjustment of methods and activities since every teaching episode is a new and valuable experience. We have to integrate theory and practice by making teaching a pleasurable experience for teachers and students alike. The challenge to produce child friendly books required a new mindset, within both the NCERT and outside. The educational visions of Gandhi and Tagore point towards the linking of schools with work and nature.
In the light of suggested curricular changes and the societal reactions the NCERT launched a project to produce a new generation of textbooks that would be free from biases of all kinds - caste, creed, sex, gender, deprived. It also required bringing into them recent educational thinking, the policy of a democratic nation, its concern for the rural, the challenged, and the marginalized.
As NCERT Director Prof. Krishna Kumar says, we have to ask why India can meet global standards in civil aviation, software and defence but not in its provision for rural children.
Re-orientation of Teachers
Research in all aspects of children's education was NCERT's primary mandate. The modernization of teacher training was its other given. Teachers should see the child's talk as a resource rather than as a nuisance, the vicious cycle of resistance and control would have a chance to be turned into a cycle of expression and response. Opportunities for individualized reading need to be built at all stages in order to promote a culture of reading, and teachers must set the example of being members of such a culture. Just as the prematurely imposed discipline of pronunciation stifles the child's motivation to talk freely, in her own dialect, for instance, the demand for writing in mechanically correct ways blocks the urge to use writing to express or to convey one's ideas.
Teacher training had remained moribund and commercialization is the only change it is going through. Orissa is the first state that has made provision for up linking with EDUSAT for teleconferencing, ICT, and bringing technology in the classroom. Starting with four schools in Koraput, sitting in their classrooms, students and teachers can access satellite education facilities like curriculum based teaching and training for teachers. Teacher education has to be on going and on site.
Keeping teacher training as high priority for the advocacy of NCF 2005, NCERT started conducing 3 day training programmes in NCF for Master Trainers who were senior teachers of Central School, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and other prominent schools in the country. Teachers were exposed to the new inputs and curricular changes and how to go about handling the new textbooks. Besides face to face interaction we also screened CDs - video and audio, to highlight the issues.
In yet another move geared towards empowerment of teachers NCERT introduced a one-day programme through the teleconferencing mode. This made available the highest functionaries of the NCERT on the screen and was successful when the teachers were convinced of the remarks made by them. Further, writers of textbooks interacted directly with the teachers and were able to reply to most of their queries, with relevant suggestions for teaching. Teleconferencing made NCERT reachable from all corners of the country, from where any one could ask a question to which a reply was assured. In Bhubaneswar itself, three such centers are operational simultaneously at present.
With the Master Trainers and the teachers thus trained, it is expected that they will organize similar camps for others in their areas to spread the message of the NCF 2005, to carry forward India to a brighter dawn of the next century. Both these programmes have been continuing on a regular basis since June 2006.
The training design will not be thrust on the states. It will be evolved through consultation among stakeholders based on local specific needs. There is a need for identification of performance indicators for teacher educators at different levels.
Syllabus and Curriculum
For a long time the system of education has functioned in a state of confusion over the relationship between the curriculum, the syllabus and textbooks. This linkage has been taken seriously, and established on sound academic ground in NCF 2005 and in a democratic atmosphere since the NCERT showed all its cards on its website where stakeholders in education freely commented and suggested changes: people and parents, activists and professionals, students and teachers, from all walks of life.
Then and Now
Teachers have to be mentally prepared for running activity centred classrooms. The mode of transaction of curricular materials is also important. Not only should new knowledge be useful, it is noteworthy how it is transacted so that it reaches the learners in the easiest and best way possible. Earlier children had rarely any opportunity to spare for hands-on experience The Constructivist approach to learning has made its foray in 2005, after many years of waiting into becoming a reality. Every child is the creator of his own universe, his own learning. In this context, the NCF 2005 and its textbooks offer new transactional strategies, requiring greater student involvement. This collective involvement of students, teachers, textbooks, mode of transaction and related material will help us build a school for future generations who can proudly enroll their children in government schools.
Centrality of Language
The importance of language in the life of any human being needs no emphasis. Language plays a very important role in the all round development of a child. It shapes the child's world, gives him / her means of expressing himself / herself, contributes to his / her emotional growth, besides academic and all other aspects of life.
India - A Linguistic Giant
Our language scenario has tempted researchers to call India variously as a "sociolinguistic area" "a linguistic giant" and a "language laboratory". The multilingual and pluricultural nature of our society makes it clear that we need more than one language for 'national cohesion', 'cultural integration' and 'social area mobility'. Different languages have different roles to play; they are complementary. The imagery of 'salad bowl' is appropriate: each language has its characteristic features and contributes to the richness of the overall pattern.
India is a country in which the Indo European family of languages is spoken mostly in north and central India. Of this group, 54 languages constitute 3/4 of the Indian population. About 1/4 of languages i.e. 20 belong to South India of Dravidian family. In Assam 20 languages are spoken. In northeast India 98 languages are spoken, even though its population density is much less than that of other states of the country. In total therefore, in the NE 118 languages are spoken. In this context, the role of Hindi and English becomes very important. In spite of all this diversity, it is to be acknowledged that Indian languages have been gaining through tourists, media, print and electronic, and other sources.
Therefore, what should a language teacher or a teacher of any other subject know about the language he/she is teaching in? Obviously, that the teacher has to be fluent in the language being used and can handle it with ease. The teacher has to be effective and economical given our limited time and facilities.