Ministry 'piloting' school curricula without cabinet nod

Published On: May 11, 2019 02:05 AM NPT By: Bishnu Prasad Aryal

KATHMANDU, May 11: The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has formed a plan to run the school curricula for Grades 11 and 12 as well as Grades 1 to 3 as a pilot project and implement the curriculum from the current academic session, all without the approval of the cabinet.

According to the Curriculum Development Center (CDC), the curriculum is revised every 10 years. It was last revised in 2005 and should have been revised again in 2015.

However, the government could not carry out the revision in 2015. The National Curriculum Development and Evaluation Council, which makes policy and approves the curriculum framework, is headed by the education minister.

The Council prepared the national framework for the curriculum about a year ago but it came into controversy over the exclusion of Math and Science from the compulsory group of subjects in Grades 11 and 12. The private education sector raised serious concern over the impact this would have on the quality of school education. The curriculum that was prepared is yet to be approved by the cabinet, according to the CDC.

After approval, a committee headed by the CDC chief looks into the textbooks and allows publishers to publish them, according to MoEST.

After the council headed by the education minister finalizes the curriculum, the cabinet should approve it for implementation, said senior officials at the CDC. “The school curriculum is tested for piloting only after the approval of the cabinet. However, the curriculum is now being piloted and implemented without such approval ,” they said. “The new curriculum for Grades 11 and 12 is being implemented in schools from the next academic session that begins April 14, 2020.”

China Kumari Niraula, senior official at the CDC, said the curriculum for Grade 11 is being piloted from the current academic session that began on April 14. “We are piloting all four compulsory subjects—Nepali, English, Social Studies and Life Skills. We are in the process of selecting schools for the pilot project,” she added. “Optional subjects will not be piloted.”

Niraula further said that the CDC is also piloting the curriculum for Grade 1 from the current fiscal year. “The pilot project will be implemented at 103 schools in 18 districts representing all seven provinces,” she said. “Piloting for Grades 2 will begin from the next academic session and for Grade 3 the following year.”

The curriculum for Grade 3 has been developed under an integrated approach. This approach includes English, Nepali, Math and Hamro Serophero. Hamro Serophero comprises Science and Environment, Health and Physical Education, Social Studies, and Creative Arts.

The integrated approach in Grades 1 to 3 was launched during the Panchayat era before 1990, said educationist Prof Dr Bidya Nath Koirala. “It was withdrawn after it failed in execution,” he said. “As for approval from the government for piloting the curriculum for Grades 1 to 3, it does not matter any more,” he added. “However, there will be a problem with equivalence for Grades 11 and 12. If the curriculum is piloted before approval, the National Examinations Board may question its authenticity.”

Baikuntha Aryal, spokesperson for MoEST, admitted that the new curriculum for Grades 1 and 11 are being piloted from the current academic session. “The council headed by Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel has already approved the framework of the curriculum. However, the cabinet is yet to approve it,” he added. “I am not sure it would be approved or not.”

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