All our books now all aligned to NEP: S Chand’s Naveen Rajlani

Published: 23rd October 2022 05:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th January 2023 07:52 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

Developing the foundational framework was one of the most important and challenging aspects of NEP 2020, what are some of the key changes that this framework will introduce?

The National Education Policy of 2020 was one of the most exciting initiatives undertaken in the world of education in recent times. It looks at galvanising the educational system and pivoting India to a position of global leadership. The policy recognised that many of the challenges to students excelling at a higher grade arise from gaps in learning at a young age. The National Curriculum Framework for the Foundational Stage addresses the crucial years of ages 3 to 8, that is, Nursery to Grade 2, and advocates the practices of Early Childhood Care and Education (EECE) with the aim of ensuring the holistic development of a child's social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs. Some of the key changes introduced by this framework include:

·       a more structured multidisciplinary approach to pre-primary education;

·       a holistic approach to development that addresses more than just the cognitive domain;

·       defining Learning Outcomes and Competencies;

·       and a more scientific, evidence-based approach to assessment which looks to evaluate the child comprehensively without the burden of formal examinations.

National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage, uses ‘play,’ at the core of the overall experience, will that affect the demand for textbooks as learning becomes more untraditional?

The term ‘play’ in the context of ECCE includes all activities that are fun and engaging to the child. The NCF has very clearly defined three types of play (free, guided and structured) and advocated the use of all three in judicious proportions to ensure holistic nurturing. Free play is child-led; guided play is initiated by the child and facilitated by the teacher; while structured play involves carefully planned activities that focus on specific Competencies and Learning Outcomes. For both guided and structured play, books and print materials are required to provide scaffolding for the learning objectives. If anything, there will be a positive demand for well-designed curriculum materials and books that will facilitate the teacher in conducting and assessing these exciting pedagogies.

Officially released statements say that academic education will be made available in all Indian languages to promote multilingualism. How do you think this impacts the existing publishing practices and will this be an added pressure along with the goal of learning English in the foundational years?

Education is already available in all the major Indian languages and state boards have traditionally focused extensively on building linguistic competency in the regional language. We already publish extensively in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telegu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, and Sanskrit. If there is more demand for other subjects in these languages, we are well equipped to supply that demand. However, the onus is on schools and parents to see how students cope with a multilingual approach given that classrooms in many parts of the country, and certainly in the metros, will have children with different mother tongues. It’s a commendable thought on the part of the policymakers to give equal importance to all regional languages and if it can be executed in schools, then children will certainly benefit from exposure to the multicultural ethos of our nation.

To institutionalise the learning outcome the NCF for the foundational stage has been piloted in 49 Balvatikas in Kendriya Vidyalaya. How much time do you think it will take for it to be implemented across India in all boards and are there states where we will see faster adoption?

The Learning Outcomes of the NCF should not take very long to be implemented as the states are moving in a positive direction towards implementing the NCF and wherever we have discussions with school leaders and educators, they are most enthusiastic about adopting the new ideas and pedagogies mentioned therein. There are several other initiatives and training programmes being carried out on aligning the education system to the NEP and NCF, so the process should be quite fast. With webinars and online means of disseminating knowledge and imparting training, adoption is happening at great speed.

What are your views on NCF suggesting employing simple worksheets rather than any prescribed textbooks for the 3-6 age group?

The NCF talks extensively about the need for exposure to print materials early on, starting with picture/story books and read-aloud books and moving on to more and more complex stories and text via, for example, graded readers. They’ve mentioned that these books should be fun, relatable, colourful, and engaging. They’ve also said that the content should be rooted in the local and Indian context, traditions, and literature. In addition, they’ve said that practice in writing can be conducted through workbooks with graded worksheets. All this is in alignment with the kind of products we publish for this age group, which are a combination of attractive reading material and worksheets for practice. There are no textbooks for this age group, but a familiarity with the form of the book is an introduction to a life-long habit of reading and learning.

What are some of the challenges that NCF-FS will face, and how will the problem of low enrollment and attendance in preschools compared to primary schools be addressed?

The NCF-FS might face some short-term challenges as it proposes a new methodology and means of assessment and evaluation for which teachers will need training and parents will also need to understand the paradigm shift from rote learning and drilling to a more holistic, experiential way of learning. However, all the training programmes that have been planned should address this. We conduct interactive sessions in schools or online where teachers are made aware of the new approaches in the NEP and NCF, and they are quite agog to implement the ideas therein, so I’m certain that these challenges will be overcome.

What are the initiatives on NEP Priorities?

We publish a whole range of high-quality books which have now all been aligned to the NEP. We identified core concepts that the NEP talks about, be it critical thinking, problem solving, environmental awareness, health literacy, digital skills or the spirit of citizenship, and we’ve included activities and exercises in all new books and revisions, which focus on these core concepts and skills. The NEP talks about something very interesting: the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs identified by the United Nations to transform the world into a better place by 2030. The goals address health, peace and prosperity for all people, and a better future for the planet. In keeping with this NEP mandate, we have incorporated exercises and activities that will help spread awareness of these SDGs and teach children how they can play a role in transforming the world. Other than this, of course, there are numerous government initiatives like NIPUN Bharat, Vidya Pravesh and Bal Vatika, as well as initiatives taken to foster inclusivity like e-content on e-Vidya which caters to Divyang learners.


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