The National Curriculum

National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS)


The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) contain the national curriculum for Grades 1 to 12 in public schools in South Africa.

Education authorities are introducing the CAPS over three years, as follows:

  • 2012: Grades 1 to 3, and Grade 10
  • 2013: Grades 4 to 6, and Grade 11
  • 2014: Grades 7 to 9, and Grade 12

Features of the CAPS include the following:

  • Greater specification of content
  • Detailed teaching schedules
  • New content in some cases

Major changes have included:

  • Greater focus on a second language in Grade 1
  • Reducing the number of subjects in Grades 4 to 6 from eight to six
  • Greater emphasis on geometry in Mathematics in Grades 10 to 12

The CAPS have been introduced to strengthen the National Curriculum Statement in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.

It is a revision of the current National Curriculum Statement (NCS). With the introduction of CAPS, every subject in each grade will have a single, comprehensive and concise policy document that will provide details on what teachers need to teach and assess on a grade-by-grade and subject-by-subject basis.

This curriculum review has the aim of

  • lessening the administrative load on teachers,
  • and ensuring that there is clear guidance and consistency for teachers when teaching.

What are the major changes associated with the CAPS curriculum?
As mentioned, CAPS gives more detailed guidance with regards to what teachers need to teach and how they should assess.

With CAPS each teacher will know what to teach, when to teach it, and how to do assessment.

Changes include:

  • The terminology Learning Outcomes and Assessment Standards has gone and will be replaced with “Content” and “Skills”.
  • CAPS Foundation Phase (Grades R, 1, 2 & 3), Numeracy will now be called Mathematics and Literacy will now be called Language.
  • CAPS Senior Phase, school-based assessment counts for 40% and the end-of-year examination counts for 60%.
  • CAPS for Grade 10, 11 and 12: content has been reorganized for several of the subjects and the exam structure has changed in some of the subjects.