Key Recommendations in National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2023

The National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF) 2023, released by the Education Ministry on August 23, introduces significant changes to the education system, including modifications to board exams and curriculum structure. The NCF aims to enhance students’ learning experience and encourage a more comprehensive understanding of subjects. Let’s delve into the key recommendations of the NCF and their implications.

Twice-Yearly Board Exams

The NCF 2023 proposes a fundamental shift in the administration of board exams. It suggests that all educational boards, including the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), conduct biannual board exams. This change allows students, starting with those appearing for CBSE board exams in 2024, to take board exams twice within a single year.

According to the NCF, the biennial exam pattern aims to alleviate the pressure of a single day’s performance and provide students with the opportunity to enhance their scores by attempting two exams annually.

Under this system, the final board exam scores for 2024 will be determined based on a student’s best performance in the two exams. This change aims to reduce the undue stress caused by the current annual exam format.

Curriculum Flexibility

The NCF 2023 introduces a more flexible curriculum structure to cater to students’ diverse interests and strengths. The revised framework mandates that students in Classes 11 and 12 study a minimum of two languages, one of which must be an Indian language. This departure from the previous practice of a single language choice is aimed at promoting multilingualism.

The implementation of this change is expected to commence as early as 2024, giving students the option to embrace the new curriculum structure.

Stream Choices

One of the significant changes proposed by the NCF is the categorization of subjects into four groups:

  • Group 1: Languages
  • Group 2: Physical Education and Well-being, Art Education, Vocational Education
  • Group 3: Social Science and Interdisciplinary Areas
  • Group 4: Science, Mathematics, and Computational Thinking

For Class 12 students, the NCF encourages flexibility in subject selection. Instead of confining students to specific streams, such as commerce or science, the new directive enables students to choose subjects from various groups.

According to the NCF, Class 12 students will choose two languages from Group 1 and four subjects from a minimum of two categories encompassing Groups 2 through 4.

Notably, subjects from Group 2—comprising arts education, physical education, and vocational education—will now be assessed at the local level rather than centrally.

The NCF outlines a progression plan for educational institutions to gradually expand their offerings. Within five years, schools should provide subjects from at least two groups (Groups 2, 3, and 4), and eventually, within a decade, institutions should offer subjects from all four categories, enabling students to engage with diverse disciplines.

Transition to Modular Testing

As part of a transformative vision for education assessment, the NCF 2023 recommends a shift from traditional board exams to modular tests within the next ten years. This approach aims to eliminate the need for students to memorize large volumes of content for a single exam and reduce the prevalent coaching culture.

The NCF’s emphasis is on assessing fundamental concepts and skills across a wide range of topics, fostering authentic learning experiences, and moving away from rote memorization.

Additionally, the NCF proposes a transition from the current annual exam format to a semester-based evaluation system, which aligns with the broader objectives of the education system overhaul.

Enriched Learning Experience

One of the notable features of the NCF 2023 is its emphasis on enhancing students’ understanding of the country’s contributions across various sectors. The curriculum will incorporate comprehensive study materials and training modules highlighting India’s achievements in different domains.

This focus on the nation’s contributions aims to instill a sense of pride and awareness among students about their cultural and historical heritage.


The National Curriculum Framework for School Education 2023 introduces transformative changes that aim to enhance the learning experience for students. From biannual board exams to a flexible curriculum structure, the NCF encourages a holistic approach to education that promotes understanding, critical thinking, and creativity.

By transitioning away from traditional examination methods and embracing modular assessments, the NCF envisions a future where students are evaluated based on their comprehension and proficiency rather than their ability to memorize information.

The emphasis on multilingualism, flexibility in subject choices, and a deeper understanding of India’s contributions further enriches the educational journey, fostering well-rounded individuals equipped for the challenges of the modern world.

As educational institutions adapt to these recommendations, they contribute to a paradigm shift that prioritizes meaningful learning and holistic development.

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