One of the critical components of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is excellence for all, consistent with realizing an equitable, inclusive and plural society as envisaged by our Constitution. A robust Foundational Stage in Education is the only route to achieving this aspiration. The release of the first-ever integrated framework for children between 3 and 8 years of age—the National Curriculum Framework for the Foundational Stage (NCF)— will help us realize this aim. The 102nd episode of Friday@5 was premised on Sections 2.4. and 2.5. of the NCF 2022 document, i.e., Competencies and Illustrative Learning Outcomes.
To ensure the effective and holistic delivery of educational aims and lessons, we need to create curricular goals, competencies and Learning outcomes suitable to our schools in terms of their contexts and capabilities. The 102nd episode elaborated upon how the NCF 2022 document has derived its Curricular Goals, Competencies and Learning Outcomes thematically within different domains the child is indulged in. The discussion aimed to enable the school Leaders to create frameworks to induce Competency-based Learning in their respective classrooms; it identified the measurable and observable outcomes that School Leaders could impart in the development of their respective Educational programmes.
Some of the primary concerns that surrounded the discussion were:
What are the key elements of an outstanding curriculum.
What key essential skills need to be addressed at the foundational level?
The incorporation of students' backgrounds, identities, and experiences in instruction?
The nature, numbers and kinds of desirable Learning Outcomes.
The leading assertion here was that a curriculum should be Experimental, allow students the Freedom to Learn, and aid the Control of Emotions. Since the curriculum is said to be one of the main enablers of creating an inclusive learning environment, it is crucial for it to be modified and adapted to provide effective learning experiences and teaching strategies that are inclusive to all students. For this, it is vital that all schools and institutions create a Curriculum Architecture of their own- that overtly focuses on three things: Knowledge, Skills and Contextuality of the environment surrounding the institution. Talking about skills, the key ones that came into conversation were of Independence and Caring for the environment. This also encompassed the remark on the need to incorporate students' various backgrounds, identities and experiences, viz., the instruction. This can also take into account the analysing of career/ college readiness among students. One panellist suggested making a ‘graduate profile’ for students in particular grades, i.e., what competency or skill a student of xyz grade would have once she graduates. Modelling a list of like this may be an excellent method to clarify, among both teachers and students, the aims of building upon curricular and learning goals. Last but not the least, the involvement and cooperation of parents in these pursuits were stressed upon. It is important to understand and acknowledge parents' role as stakeholders in this journey. Having 20% of the parents implicated in action may be a good way to model the institution's aims to other parents.
Though the concerned episode focused on the Foundational Stage, it is also vital to delve into how these approaches and implications can impact and chart the way to the other consequent stages within the school system, i.e., Secondary and Senior Secondary. We hope to explore this and the other related aspects of these in the upcoming episodes.