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NEP 2020: Heavy school textbooks may be phased out under new curriculum framework

The National Curriculum Framework is being revamped. Under this, the emphasis will be on interactive course modules, which are engaging for students.

July 14, 2021 / 12:18 PM IST

Are you among those students who detest carrying heavy school bags every day? Your prayers are being answered as there could be a brand-new curriculum introduced in schools over the next two years, which would make text-heavy books lighter.

This is part of the proposals under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that aims to make school education and academic content more engaging and interactive.

"Heavy books that are filled with theory content may soon become thinner. We are engaged with discussions with states and allied stakeholders on this matter," an official said.

Policy on school bags

As per the 'Policy on School Bag 2020' announced in December last year as part of NEP 2020, the total weight of a student's school bag (for students from class 1 to 10) should not be more than 10 percent of their body weight.

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In addition, the existing school-book content, which is heavy on text, is being simplified.

For students, this would mean that classroom lessons will be more interactive. It could involve thinner books complemented with audio-visual content in the classroom as well as practical training.

Under the National Education Policy 2020, there are different curriculums for school education, adult and teacher education being prepared by the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT).

NCERT is the umbrella body under the government that publishes educational and textbooks for schools.

So far, there was one National Curriculum Framework that was at the core of the school education system.

Feedback sought from states

Each state and its districts will give their feedback on the academic matter, which could be included in the curriculum and suggest steps to make the content more engaging.

"A final decision on the structure of the curriculum could be taken by the end of July. Since states are also giving inputs, this will also mean that state-specific content, including art and culture, would be made part of the books," another official added.

It is likely that the final implementation would begin from the 2022-23 academic year onwards, in the first phase.

Newer areas like coding, financial literacy and artificial intelligence would also be made part of the curriculum. Here, instead of adding fat textbooks to the school bag, sources said that the government wants to make it digital-enabled.

"E-textbooks will be made available so that a child is able to access the content from anywhere. Sector experts will also be consulted in the field of developing content for emerging technology," the official quoted above explained.

One of the biggest

According to a UNICEF report, the Indian education system is one of the biggest in the world, with more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children who come from varying socio-economic backgrounds.

The aim of the Ministry of Education is not just to make the content more engaging, but to also arrest the dropout rates in schools.

As per Ministry of Education data, the average dropout rate at the primary school level is 4.13 percent, while at the secondary school level, it stands at 17.06 percent.
M Saraswathy is a business journalist with 10 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers consumer durables, insurance, education and human resources beat for Moneycontrol.
first published: Jul 14, 2021 12:18 pm
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