Curriculum and NEP 2020: Perspectives and Inter-connections

Published date01 June 2024
AuthorMayank Bhardwaj,Ashish Ranjan,Jyoti Sharma
Date01 June 2024
Subject MatterArticles
Curriculum and
NEP 2020: Perspectives
and Inter-connections
Mayank Bhardwaj1, Ashish Ranjan1 and Jyoti Sharma2
There cannot be a more appropriate time for infusing the education system of
India with flexibility, innovativeness and quality. National Education Policy (NEP),
2020, is a step in this direction which emphasises on inclusiveness, equity and
quality with a clear focus on the attainment of learning outcomes. NEP 2020 pro-
motes the adoption of learner-centric education which develops critical think-
ing, creativity and problem-solving skills and discourages rote learning methods.
An effective education policy relies on strong curricular foundations for opti-
mum results. An enriched curriculum should be rooted in India’s diverse culture,
knowledge systems and traditions embracing local knowledge and cultural prac-
tices, on the one hand, and at the same time, should incorporate the modern-
day learning perspectives developed by the curriculum theorists over the last
century. This article analyses the idea of curriculum as conceived by different
learning perspectives and how NEP 2020 draws inferences from them.
Curriculum, learning outcomes, quality education, National Education Policy
Mahatma Gandhi (1937) said ‘By Education, I mean an all-round drawing out of
the best in child and man—body, mind and spirit’. It envisions an education
system where all children are able to achieve their fullest potential and harness
their abilities and capacities in the best possible manner. This utopian vision is
Indian Journal of Public
70(2) 237–255, 2024
© 2024 IIPA
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561241230244
1 Department of Education, University of Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi, India
2 Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Corresponding author:
Mayank Bhardwaj, Department of Education, University of Delhi, 33, Chhatra Marg, Near School of
Open Learning, New Delhi, Delhi 110007, India.
238 Indian Journal of Public Administration 70(2)
entwined with the successful resolution of the question, ‘what is to be taught’
within the precincts of socio-cultural milieu, thereby, paving a roadmap for the
future. The question ‘what is to be taught’ in our classrooms, that is, designing and
transaction of curriculum has intrigued policymakers and educational thinkers for
a long time because it carries philosophical, political, social, economic, cultural
underpinnings and requires a careful and deliberate effort.
National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 envisages ‘Education to be fundamental
for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and
promoting national development’ (NEP, 2020, p. 3, Para. 1). Therefore, the education
system in India needs to accommodate the varied socio-cultura l diversity, resolve
the dilemmas arising out of dichotomies of rural–urban, haves/have-nots and rich-
poor divides and forge its own trajectory with an underlying aim of eliminating the
deep ssures of inequality and perceived injustices prevalent in the society, and
thereby redening the value systems along with reconguring the existing social
and power structures. India being a diverse country, there are differentiated and
layered loads of aspirations of different groups in the society, and which, in turn, put
asymmetric strains on the educational milieu. It needs deep probing through the lens
of national aspirations to accommodate the views of various interest groups and
align them in the curricula. It also requires a nuanced approach to incorporate
contemporary global perspectives such as sensitivity towards human rights, gender
issues and sustainable development along with inculcating the idea of global
citizenship and the value of equity (NEP, 2020, p. 6, Para. 2).
In the last century, the conception of curriculum, its meaning, the role and
purpose it serves, have evolved signicantly with the seminal works of numerous
curriculum theorists. Bobbitt in his book The Curriculum (1918) has highlighted the
need for scientic planning in curriculum designing, keeping goals and objectives
in sight. He perceived schools as an agent of social reproduction matching
individuals with existing social and economic order (Lagemann, 2000, p. 107). On
the other hand, schools were also perceived as a platform for social progress and
reform with a focus on nurturing child’s innate potential through education (Dewey,
1897). In later years, the idea of social reconstructionism and critical pedagogy
gained ground bringing the need to challenge the oppressive social and economic
order at the centre stage of the education system and inuenced the curriculum
designing and pedagogical processes. The objective approach emerged as a
predominant perspective and found favours with educational planners. Bloom
(1968) contributed to this approach with his idea of mastery of learning, and last few
decades have witnessed the mainstreaming of outcome-based education perspective
as the principal approach of education and training across the globe (Halász, 2017).
In India also, since Independence, concerted efforts have been undertaken by
various commissions and committees to streamline the curricular structures and
the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) came up
with a consolidated document in the form of the National Curriculum Framework
(NCF) in the year 2005. NCF proposed systemic changes in the curricula with
specic emphasis upon replacing the rote method of learning with the construction
of knowledge, making students learn to apply knowledge in real-life situations
outside schools, making examinations more exible and thus ensuring holistic

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