What are the principles of CAPS curriculum?

The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) is the national curriculum for South African schools, implemented in 2012. It was developed by the Department of Basic Education and is designed to provide a framework for teaching, learning and assessment in all public schools in the country. The CAPS curriculum is driven by several core principles.

Curriculum Overview

The CAPS curriculum is organized into four phases: Foundation Phase (Grades R-3), Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-6), Senior Phase (Grades 7-9) and Further Education and Training (Grades 10-12). The curriculum covers eight learning areas: Languages, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Technology, Economic and Management Sciences, Life Orientation and Creative Arts.


The Languages learning area includes three languages: Home Language, First Additional Language and Second Additional Language. Home Language refers to the language spoken at home by the learner, First Additional Language is a language that the learner is learning as an additional language and Second Additional Language is optional.


Mathematics is a compulsory subject in all grades and focuses on the development of mathematical skills, concepts, and problem-solving strategies.


The Natural Sciences learning area includes subjects such as Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences. It aims to develop scientific skills and knowledge in learners and encourages them to engage in scientific inquiry.

Social Science

Social Sciences include History and Geography and aim to develop learners’ understanding of their social and natural environment.


Technology covers a range of subjects, including Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Design and Technology, and Computer Applications Technology. It aims to equip learners with technological skills that are relevant to their lives.


Economic and Management Sciences focus on entrepreneurship, financial management, and consumer education. It aims to prepare learners for the world of work and financial independence.

Life Orientation

Life Orientation is a compulsory subject in all grades and covers topics such as personal health, social relationships, and career guidance.


Creative Arts include subjects such as Visual Arts, Music, and Dance. It aims to develop learners’ creative abilities and appreciation of the arts.


The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in South Africa is based on a set of guiding principles that are intended to provide a framework for teaching and learning. These principles are designed to ensure that the curriculum is relevant, comprehensive and learner-centred. The principles of the CAPS curriculum include the promotion of social justice, the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the integration of knowledge across different subject areas, and the use of technology to enhance learning. These principles are intended to prepare learners for the challenges of the 21st century by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Social transformation

The curriculum ensures the educational imbalances of the past are redressed and that equal educational opportunities are provided for all sections of the population.

Active and critical learning

The curriculum encourages a dynamic and critical approach to learning rather than rote and uncritical learning of given truths.

High knowledge and high skills

The curriculum sets the minimum standards of knowledge and skills at each grade are specified and high but achievable in all subjects.


The content and context of each grade show the progression from simple to complex.

Human rights, inclusivity, environmental and social justice

The curriculum infuses the principles and practices of social and ecological justice and human rights as defined in the Republic of South Africa Constitution. The National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 is sensitive to diversity issues such as poverty, inequality, race, gender, language, age, disability and other factors.

Valuing indigenous knowledge systems

The curriculum acknowledges this country’s rich history and heritage as significant contributors to nurturing the values contained in the Constitution.

Credibility, quality and efficiency

The curriculum provides an education comparable in quality, breadth, and depth to other countries.