New Grade XI curriculum highly unlikely in next academic session

Kathmandu, June 20

The Curriculum Development Centre is mulling over abandoning its plan to introduce a new curriculum in Grade XI from the upcoming academic session, as it has failed to lay the groundwork to implement the new system and take stakeholders into confidence.

The new curriculum envisages making four subjects — Nepali, English, social studies and applied education — compulsory for Grade XI students. Apart from these, students must choose at least three more subjects. Currently, Grade XI students are not obliged to take more than five subjects, of which up to two subjects are compulsory based on the streams they choose.

The curriculum was overhauled in line with the eighth amendment to the Education Act made in June 2016 which envisions replacing stream-based education system with single-track curriculum from grades IX to XII. As per this policy, the age-old School Leaving Certificate was replaced with Secondary Education Examination. Based on the same policy, the CDC was planning to roll out a new curriculum in Grade XI from the new academic session beginning in mid-July and extend it to Grade XII next year. “We may not be able to meet the mid-July target of introducing the new curriculum,” CDC Executive Director Krishna Prasad Kapri said. “Yet we are planning to implement the new curriculum in a few schools as a pilot project from the upcoming academic year. But it hasn’t been finalised.”

The CDC is planning to abandon its plan to fully roll out the new curriculum, as the Cabinet is yet to endorse the National Curriculum Framework. Without the framework — final draft of which was prepared in the second week of May — the new curriculum for Grade XI cannot be introduced.

It is not known whether the National Curriculum Framework will be approved by the Cabinet soon as stakeholders are against the idea of introducing the new curriculum from the upcoming academic session. They claim textbooks are not ready, teachers have not been trained properly and the school managements are in a fix over the introduction of new subjects. Many have also opposed the move to exclude mathematics from the group of compulsory subjects in Grade XI.

“It is quite surprising that the CDC prepared the curriculum framework without consulting us,” said Ramhari Silwal, secretary of the Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools’ Association of Nepal, an umbrella body of secondary schools in Nepal. “It is, therefore, not a surprise that the curriculum is flawed.” Grade XI and Grade XII, according to Silwal, are entry points for students for pursuing higher education in universities. “That’s why we offer specialised courses in those grades, which are missing from the new curriculum,” claimed Silwal. Educationist Bidhya Nath Koirala said the government should prepare teachers and schools accordingly before implementing the new curriculum. “If this is not done, community schools run by the government will suffer,” Koirala said.

Out of around 28,000 community schools in the country, around 8,000 offer secondary level education and less than 3,000 provide grades XI and XII education.