NCERT Revised Syllabus of Biology (Class 11 & 12)

(Download) NCERT Revised Syllabus of Biology (Class 11 & 12)


In the present attempt of the NCERT to revise the Biology syllabus of the Classes XI and XII, several documents like ‘Learning without Burden’, the National Curriculum Framework- 2005, the report of the ‘National Focus Group on Teaching of Science’ as well as reports of several external and internal reviews carried out, helped to decide the main focus of the revision. Hence, the revised syllabus aims primarily at reducing the information load while ensuring at the same time that ample opportunities and scope for learning and appreciating basic concepts of Biology continues to be available within the framework.

The Biology Syllabus reinforces the ideas introduced in the lower classes while the children learn new concepts besides getting an exposure to contemporary areas of Biology. This syllabus aims also at emphasising the underlying principles that are common to both animals and plants, as well as highlighting the interrelationships of Biology with other areas of knowledge. The format of the syllabus allows a simple, clear, sequential flow of concepts without any jarring jumps. The empirical experience gained and practical exercises carried out during the course would prepare the student to handle Biology easily at higher levels in case she/he opts to continue further studies in this area.

The revised syllabus stresses the connection of the study of Biology to real life problems -use of biological discoveries/innovations in everyday life - in environment, industry, medicine, health and agriculture.

Since it was important that the quality of Biology education at the higher secondary level was not compromised in any way, the reduction in load from the syllabus required a very careful selection of topics to be taught. The Committee chose to leave topics out if: the question about why the child needs to study
the topic at the particular stage could not be answered; if the topic had no direct relevance to the child i.e. was not contextual; if the content was repetitive across stages with no change in expected understanding, and if any topic was in isolation with no evident horizontal or vertical linkages. The need for a network of
ideas and cross-linking between the areas being identified was deemed very important. While deciding on the units/topics and the depth of each topic for the higher secondary level, a holistic view of the syllabus across all stages from the primary to the higher secondary and beyond was taken. Reducing the use of too
many technical terms and avoiding very large numbers of examples will also help to make the content a little lighter. The importance of careful selection of illustrations and their use to make the concepts more explicit was stressed; in Biology the quality of illustrations can make or mar any attempt at good textbooks/

The principal objective at this stage would be to explore the variations amongst the living and developing respect for the diversities, and to appreciate that the most complex biological phenomena are also built on essentially simple processes. Learning Biology should uncover these elementary aspects and illustrate their
linkage to more complex phenomena. It was also felt that the contributions of scientists (women scientists in particular) that led to critical and important discoveries in Biology should be highlighted, not merely through a chronological listing, but through brief biographical discussions, in an effort to bring out the
processes that led to the discovery of principles and ideas in Biology. These would stimulate critical and creative thinking. Besides, the proposed course at the higher secondary stage provides substantial orientation to the students to professional/career opportunities available in medicine, agriculture, research, teaching and industry.

The syllabus also takes up issues pertaining to environment, health and other ethical issues that arise with any interference of human beings in the natural processes, which have great relevance from the societal point of view. A discussion on these in the prescribed syllabus would help tackle prevalent misconceptions and empower the student to playa rational, responsible and informed role in society. The teaching time in terms of number of periods available is indicated for each uni

The young student would get an exposure to the various branches of Biology in a more contextual and friendly manner as they studied various units in the syllabus; each unit could also provide a glimpse of the career opportunities in the particular area. After studying any unit, the child gets an opportunity to think
more deeply and to form informed opinions. The description of the diverse/various tools and techniques used in the study of Biology have not been collated to form a distinct unit in the syllabus. It is envisaged that the teachers who teach this syllabus and the textbooks prepared based on it, will discuss techniques in a contextual manner rather than distanced from real experimental situations.

The committee faced a dilemma while considering the topic of animal physiology: whether to deal with ‘animal’ or ‘human’ physiology. But the moment the focus of discussion shifted - from the ‘subject’ dictated one to the child - and the available time was considered, it was evident that ‘human’ physiology was more appropriate at this stage. The student is closest to herself and is curious about the functioning of the human body. The ‘science’ understood after a study of human physiology could be meaningfully applied to other organisms.

The students should be encouraged to do at least one project, may be in Class XI. The basic objective of these projects should be to provide the child with an exposure to what it means to carry out an investigation, what research methodologies are, how data is analysed and presented and, how to interpret data and
draw conclusions. The project should provide space for the child to choose a theme in the area of her interest, think independently allow autonomous working and also provide freedom to present the project in any format of her/his choice, thus improving her/his communication skills.

The syllabus committee hopes that the spirit of the exercise is carried forward to the textbook and the classrooms, across the country, ultimately meeting our objective of reducing the burden on the child while making learning Biology exciting. Teaching should emphasise on ways of acquiring knowledge rather than on conveying knowledge.


(Total Periods = 180)

I. Diversity in Living World

( Periods 25 )

What is living?; Biodiversity; Need for classification; Three domain of life; Taxonomy & Systematics; Concept of species and taxonomical hierarchy; Binomial nomenclature; Tools for study of Taxonomy–Museums, Zoos, Herbaria, Botanical gardens.

Five kingdom classification; Salient features and classification of Monera; Protista and Fungi into major groups; Lichens; Viruses and Viroids.

Salient features and classification of plants into major groups- Algae, Bryophytes, Pteridophytes, Gymnosperm and Angiosperm (three to five salient and distinguishing features and at least two examples of each category); Angiosperms- classification up to class, characteristic features and examples.

Salient features and classification of animals- non chordate up to phyla level and chordate up to classes level (three to five salient features and at least two examples).

II. Structural Organisation in Animals and Plants

( Periods 25 )

Morphology and modifications; Tissues; Anatomy and functions of different parts of flowering plants: Root, stem, leaf, inflorescence- cymose and racemose, flower, fruit and seed (To be dealt along with the relevant practical of the Practical Syllabus).

Animal tissues; Morphology, anatomy and functions of different systems (digestive, circulatory, respiratory, nervous and reproductive) of an insect (cockroach). (Brief account only)

III. Cell Structure and Function

(Periods 40)

Cell theory and cell as the basic unit of life; Structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell; Plant cell and animal cell; Cell envelope, cell membrane, cell wall; Cell organelles– structure and function; Endomembrane system- endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, lysosomes, vacuoles; mitochondria, ribosomes, plastids, microbodies; Cytoskeleton, cilia, flagella, centrioles (ultra structure and function); Nucleus–nuclear membrane, chromatin, nucleolus.

Chemical constituents of living cells: Biomolecules–structure and function of proteins, carbodydrates, lipid, nucleic acids; Enzymes–types, properties, enzyme action.

Cell division : Cell cycle, mitosis, meiosis and their significance.

IV. Plant Physiology

(Periods 45)

Transport in plants: Movement of water, gases and nutrients; Cell to cell transport– Diffusion, facilitated diffusion, active transport; Plant – water relations– Imbibition, water potential, osmosis, plasmolysis; Long distance transport of water– Absorption, apoplast, symplast, transpiration pull, root pressure and guttation; Transpiration– Opening and closing of stomata; Uptake and translocation of mineral nutrients– Transport of food, phloem transport, Mass flow hypothesis; Diffusion of gases (brief mention).

Mineral nutrition: Essential minerals, macro and micronutrients and their role; Deficiency symptoms; Mineral toxicity; Elementary idea of Hydroponics as a method to study mineral nutrition; Nitrogen metabolism – Nitrogen cycle, biological nitrogen fixation.

Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis as a means of Autotrophic nutrition; Where does photosynthesis take place; How many pigments are involved in Photosynthesis (Elementary idea); Photochemical and biosynthetic phases of photosynthesis; Cyclic and non cyclic photophosphorylation; Chemiosmotic hypothesis; Photorespiration; C3 and C4 pathways; Factors affecting photosynthesis.

Respiration: Exchange of gases; Cellular respiration – glycolysis, fermentation (anaerobic), TCA cycle and electron transport system (aerobic); Energy relations – Number of ATP molecules generated; Amphibolic pathways; Respiratory quotient.

Plant growth and development: Seed germination; Phases of plant growth and plant growth rate; Conditions of growth; Differentiation, dedifferentiation and redifferentiation; Sequence of developmental process in a plant cell; Growth regulators–auxin, gibberellin, cytokinin, ethylene, ABA; Seed dormancy; Vernalisation; Photoperiodism.

V. Human Physiology

(Periods 45)

Digestion and absorption: Alimentary canal and digestive glands; Role of digestive enzymes and gastrointestinal hormones; Peristalsis, digestion, absorption and assimilation of proteins, carbohydrates and fats; Calorific value of proteins, carbohydrates and fats (for box item not to be evaluated); Egestion;
Nutritional and digestive disorders– PEM, indigestion, constipation, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea.

Breathing and Respiration: Respiratory organs in animals (recall only); Respiratory system in humans; Mechanism of breathing and its regulation in humans– Exchange of gases, transport of gases and regulation of respiration, Respiratory volumes; Disorders related to respiration-Asthma, Emphysema, Occupational
respiratory disorders.

Body fluids and circulation: Composition of blood, blood groups, coagulation of blood; Composition of lymph and its function; Human circulatory system– Structure of human heart and blood vessels; Cardiac cycle, cardiac output, ECG; Double circulation; Regulation of cardiac activity; Disorders of circulatory system-Hypertension, Coronary artery disease, Angina pectoris, Heart failure.

Excretory products and their elimination: Modes of excretion – Ammonotelism, ureotelism, uricotelism; Human excretory system–structure and fuction; Urine formation, Osmoregulation; Regulation of kidney function– Renin-angiotensin, Atrial Natriuretic Factor, ADH and Diabetes insipidus; Role of other organs in excretion; Disorders-Uraemia, Renal failure, Renal calculi, Nephritis; Dialysis and artificial kidney.

Locomotion and Movement: Types of movement – ciliary, flagellar, muscular; Skeletal muscle – contractile proteins and muscle contraction; Skeletal system and its functions (To be dealt with the relevant practical of Practical syllabus); Joints; Disorders of muscular and skeletal system- Myasthenia gravis, Tetany, Muscular dystrophy, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Gout.

Neural control and coordination: Neuron and nerves; Nervous system in humans– central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and visceral nervous system; Generation and conduction of nerve impulse; Reflex action; Sensory perception; Sense organs; Elementary structure and function of eye and ear.

Chemical coordination and regulation: Endocrine glands and hormones; Human endocrine systemHypothalamus, Pituitary, Pineal, Thyroid, Parathyroid, Adrenal, Pancreas, Gonads; Mechanism of hormone action (Elementary Idea); Role of hormones as messengers and regulators, Hypo-and hyperactivity and related disorders (Common disorders e.g. Dwarfism, Acromegaly, Cretinism, goiter, exopthalmic goiter, diabetes, Addison’s disease).

Imp: Diseases related to all the human physiology systems to be taught in brief.


(Total Periods = 60)

A. List of experiments

1. Study and describe three locally available common flowering plants from each of the following families (Solanaceae, Fabaceae and Liliaceae) including dissection and display of floral whorls and anther and ovary to show number of chambers. Types of root (Tap and Adventitious); Stem (Herbaceous and woody); Leaf (arrangement, shape, venation, simple and compound).

2. Preparation and study of T.S. of dicot and monocot roots and stems (primary).

3. Study of osmosis by potato osmometer.

4. Study of plasmolysis in epidermal peels (e.g. Rhoeo leaves)

5. Study of distribution of stomata in the upper and lower surface of leaves.

6. Comparative study of the rates of transpiration in the upper and lower surface of leaves.

7. Test for the presence of sugar, starch, proteins and fats. To detect them in suitable plant and animal materials.

8. Separation of plant pigments through paper chromatography.

9. To study the rate of respiration in flower buds/leaf tissue and germinating seeds.

10. To test the presence of urea in urine.

11. To detect the presence of sugar in urine/blood sample.

12. To detect the presence of albumin in urine.

13. To detect the presence of bile salts in urine.

B. Study/observation of the following (spotting)

1. Study parts of a compound microscope.

2. Study of the specimens and identification with reasons- Bacteria, Oscillatoria, Spirogyra, Rhizopus, mushroom, yeast, liverwort, moss, fern, pine, one monocotyledonous plant and one dicotyledonous plant and one lichen.

3. Study of specimens and identification with reasons- Amoeba, Hydra, Liverfluke, Ascaris, leech, earthworm, prawn, silkworm, honeybee, snail, starfish, shark, rohu, frog, lizard, pigeon and rabbit.

4. Study of tissues and diversity in shapes and sizes of plant and animal cells (e.g. palisade cells, guard cells, parenchyma, collenchyma, sclerenchyma, xylem, phloem, squamous epithelium, muscle fibers and mammalian blood smear) through temporary/permanent slides.

5. Study of mitosis in onion root tips cells and animals cells (grasshopper) from permanent slides.

6. Study of different modifications in root, stem and leaves.

7. Study and identification of different types of inflorescence.

8. Study of imbibition in seeds/raisins.

9. Observation and comments on the experimental set up for showing:

a. Anaerobic respiration
b. Phototropism
c. Apical bud removal
d. Suction due to transpiration

10. Study of human skeleton and different types of joints.

11. Study of external morphology of cockroach through models.


(Total Periods = 180)

I. Reproduction

(Periods 35)

Reproduction in organisms: Reproduction, a characteristic feature of all organisms for continuation of species; Modes of reproduction – Asexual and sexual; Asexual reproduction; Modes- Binary fission, sporulation, budding, gemmule, fragmentation; vegetative propagation in plants.

Sexual reproduction in flowering plants: Flower structure; Development of male and female gametophytes; Pollination–types, agencies and examples; Outbreedings devices; Pollen-Pistil interaction; Double fertilization; Post fertilization events– Development of endosperm and embryo, Development of seed and formation of fruit; Special modes– apomixis, parthenocarpy, polyembryony; Significance of seed and fruit formation.

Human Reproduction: Male and female reproductive systems; Microscopic anatomy of testis and ovary; Gametogenesis- spermatogenesis & oogenesis; Menstrual cycle; Fertilisation, embryo development upto blastocyst formation, implantation; Pregnancy and placenta formation (Elementary idea); Parturition (Elementary idea); Lactation (Elementary idea).

Reproductive health: Need for reproductive health and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STD); Birth control- Need and Methods, Contraception and Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP); Amniocentesis; Infertility and assisted reproductive technologies – IVF, ZIFT, GIFT (Elementary idea for
general awareness).

II. Genetics and Evolution

(Periods 45)

Heredity and variation: Mendelian Inheritance; Deviations from Mendelism– Incomplete dominance, Co-dominance, Multiple alleles and Inheritance of blood groups, Pleiotropy; Elementary idea of polygenic inheritance; Chromosome theory of inheritance; Chromosomes and genes; Sex determination– In humans, birds, honey bee; Linkage and crossing over; Sex linked inheritance- Haemophilia, Colour blindness; Mendelian disorders in humans– Thalassemia; Chromosomal disorders in humans; Down’s syndrome, Turner’s and Klinefelter’s syndromes.

Molecular Basis of Inheritance: Search for genetic material and DNA as genetic material; Structure of DNA and RNA; DNA packaging; DNA replication; Central dogma; Transcription, genetic code, translation; Gene expression and regulation– Lac Operon; Genome and human genome project; DNA finger printing.

Evolution: Origin of life; Biological evolution and evidences for biological evolution (Paleontological, comparative anatomy, embryology and molecular evidence); Darwin’s contribution, Modern Synthetic theory of Evolution; Mechanism of evolution– Variation (Mutation and Recombination) and Natural Selection with examples, types of natural selection; Gene flow and genetic dirft; Hardy- Weinberg’s principle; Adaptive Radiation; Human evolution.

III Biology and Human Welfare

(Periods 35)

Health and Disease: Pathogens; parasites causing human diseases (Malaria, Filariasis, Ascariasis, Typhoid, Pneumonia, common cold, amoebiasis, ring worm); Basic concepts of immunology–vaccines; Cancer, HIV and AIDs; Adolescence, drug and alcohol abuse.

Improvement in food production: Plant breeding, tissue culture, single cell protein, Biofortification; Apiculture and Animal husbandry.

Microbes in human welfare: In household food processing, industrial production, sewage treatment, energy generation and as biocontrol agents and biofertilizers.

IV Biotechnology and Its Applications

(Periods 30)

Principles and process of Biotechnology: Genetic engineering (Recombinant DNA technology). Application of Biotechnology in health and agriculture: Human insulin and vaccine production, gene therapy; Genetically modified organisms- Bt crops; Transgenic Animals; Biosafety issues– Biopiracy and patents.

V Ecology and environment

(Periods 35)

Organisms and environment: Habitat and niche; Population and ecological adaptations; Population interactions–mutualism, competition, predation, parasitism; Population attributes–growth, birth rate and death rate, age distribution.]

Ecosystems: Patterns, components; productivity and decomposition; Energy flow; Pyramids of number, biomass, energy; Nutrient cycling (carbon and phosphorous); Ecological succession; Ecological Services– Carbon fixation, pollination, oxygen release.

Biodiversity and its conservation: Concept of Biodiversity; Patterns of Biodiversity; Importance of Biodiversity; Loss of Biodiversity; Biodiversity conservation; Hotspots, endangered organisms, extinction, Red Data Book, biosphere reserves, National parks and sanctuaries.

Environmental issues: Air pollution and its control; Water pollution and its control; Agrochemicals and their effects; Solid waste management; Radioactive waste management; Greenhouse effect and global warming; Ozone depletion; Deforestation; Any three case studies as success stories addressing environmental issues.


(Total Periods = 60)

List of Experiments

1. Study pollen germination on a slide.

2. Collect and study soil from at least two different sites and study them for texture, moisture content, pH and water holding capacity of soil. Correlate with the kinds of plants found in them.

3. Collect water from two different water bodies around you and study them for pH, clarity and presence of any living organisms.

4. Study the presence of suspended particulate matter in air at the two widely different sites.

5. Study of plant population density by quadrate method.

6. Study of plant population frequency by quadrate method.

7. Prepare a temporary mount of onion root tip to study mitosis.

8. To study the effect of the different temperatures and three different pH on the activity of salivary amylase on starch.

Study/observation of the following (Spotting)

1. Flowers adapted to pollination by different agencies (wind, insect).

2. Pollen germination on stigma through a permanent slide.

3. Identification of stages of gamete development i.e. T.S. testis and T.S. ovary through permanent slides (from any mammal).

4. Meiosis in onion bud cell or grass hopper testis through permanent slides.

5. T.S. of blastula through permanent slides.

6. Mendelian inheritance using seeds of different colour/size of any plant.

7. Prepared pedigree charts of genetic traits such as rolling of tongue, blood groups, widow’s peak, colour blindness.

8. Exercise on controlled pollination – Emasculation, tagging and bagging.

9. Identification of common disease causing organisms like Ascaris, Entamoeba, Plasmodium, ringworm through permanent slides or specimens. Comment on symptoms of diseases that they cause.

10. Two plants and two animals found in xerophytic conditions. Comment upon their morphological adaptations.

11. Plants and animals found in aquatic conditions. Comment upon their morphological adaptations.


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