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CBSE Update: New Examination Structure with 3 Languages and Additional Subjects


CBSE Update: New Examination Structure with 3 Languages and Additional Subjects

CENTRAL Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is reported to have proposed significant changes to the academic framework for secondary and higher secondary education, including a shift from studying two languages to three in Class 10, with the requirement that at least two must be native Indian languages. Furthermore, students in Class 10 may now need to pass in 10 subjects, as opposed to the current requirement of five.


Similarly, for Class 12, the proposed changes involve students studying two languages instead of one, with the condition that at least one must be a native Indian language. Overall, they would have to clear examinations in six subjects instead of five to graduate from high school.

According to a detailed plan reviewed by The Indian Express, the proposed changes form part of the CBSE's broader initiative to implement a national credit framework in school education. Creditisation aims to establish academic equivalence between vocational and general education, facilitating mobility between the two education systems, as proposed by the National Education Policy 2020.

At present, the standard  school curriculum does not have a formalised credit system. As per the CBSE plan, an academic year would be made up of 1200 notional learning hours, which would translate to earning 40 credits. Notional learning refers to a stipulated amount of time that an average student would need to spend in order to attain the specified outcomes. In other words, each subject has been allotted a certain number of hours so that, in a year, a student spends a total of 1200 learning hours to be declared pass. The hours will include both academic learning at school and non-academic or experiential learning outside the school.


The scheme of studies has accordingly been tweaked to mention teaching hours and credits earned against each subject. The credits earned by a student will be digitally stored in the Academic Bank of Credits and accessible through a linked Digilocker account. The credits, the plan states, will be “independent” of the marks obtained by a student, an official CBSE document states.

In order to operationalise this, the Board has proposed to increase the number of subjects studied in secondary and higher secondary education by adding multidisciplinary and vocational courses to the list of existing subjects. So, for Class 10, where students currently have to pass five subjects (two languages and three main subjects of mathematics, science and social science), they would have to clear 10 subjects (three languages and seven main subjects) under the creditised system.

While two of the three languages should be native Indian languages, the seven main subjects proposed for Class 10 are: mathematics and computational thinking, social science, science, art education, physical education and well-being, vocational education and environmental education.

The three languages, mathematics and computational thinking, social science, science and environmental education would be assessed externally; art education, physical education and vocational education would be a mix of internal and external examination. But students would have to pass all 10 subjects to move on to the next grade.

For Classes 11 and 12, instead of the current five subjects (one language and four subjects or electives), students would have to study six subjects (two languages and four subjects with an optional fifth subject). At least one of the two languages has to be a native Indian language.

The plan containing the changes proposed to the academic framework of Classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 was sent to all heads of CBSE-affiliated institutions late last year, to review and provide comments by December 5, 2023.

According to an official, the CBSE has received favourable responses from school heads and teachers. However, one of the areas of concern that was flagged is the transition to the new curriculum that assigns credits to academic and non-academic learning, in and outside the school. Teaching autonomy was also flagged in the feedback by teachers, the official said.

“The only area of concern was the transition to a new system. We are working on a set of guidelines that will help guide teachers at school to implement this transition. These guidelines will act as a broad structure but with room for teachers to exercise autonomy,” the official said.

However, it is not clear yet if the creditised system will be rolled out in the next academic year or the year after that.

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