Our national curriculum is the culmination of our efforts over a period of seventeen years to transform the curriculum bequeathed to us by apartheid.
From the start of democracy we have built our curriculum on the values that inspired our Constitution (Act 108 of 1996). The Preamble to the Constitution states that the aims of the Constitution are to:
• heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
• improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person;
• lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law; and
• build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
Education and the curriculum have an important role to play in realising these aims.
From 2012 the two National Curriculum Statements for Grades R-9 and Grades 10-12 respectively, are combined in a single document and will simply be known as the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12. The National Curriculum Statement for Grades R-12 builds on the previous curriculum but also updates it and aims to provide clearer specification of what is to be taught and learnt on a term-by-term basis.
The National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 represents a policy statement for learning and teaching in South African schools and comprises the following:
a) Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements for each approved school subject as listed in the policy document National policy pertaining to the programme and promotion requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R – 12;
b) The policy document National policy pertaining to the programme and promotion requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R – 12 which describes the number of subjects to be offered by learners in each grade and the promotion requirements to be obtained; and
c) The policy document National Protocol for Assessment Grades R – 12 which standardises the recording and reporting processes for Grades R – 12 within the framework.
Why was it necessary to repackage the curriculum in 2010?
Teachers expressed their concerns about the various challenges in the implementation of the Revised National Curriculum Statement Grades R – 9 and the National Curriculum Statement Grades 10 – 12. The Minister of Basic Education then appointed a Task Team to identify the
challenges and pressure points that negatively impacted on the quality of teaching in schools and to propose the mechanisms that could address the challenges.
The Ministerial Task Team recommended that the Department of Basic Education develop a clear and simple five year plan to support the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R – 12 in schools and refine curriculum documents.