Why did EduExcellence choose the Cambridge Curriculum for its Schools?
When developing our Schools model for mainstream education we identified two curriculum related issues that needed to be addressed if it was going to support our philosophy:
- We needed a curriculum that would support each learner in their educational journey
- We needed a curriculum that truly prepares learners for life after school
A word of explanation before we continue
Lay people often misinterpret Curriculum to mean content or textbooks. The South African National Curriculum is called CAPS which means the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement. So CAPS is essentially a policy – that policy dictates the educational outcomes and standards.
Curriculum support material are textbooks, aligned with a curriculum to provide the content or syllabus for that subject.
Initially we attempted to adapt CAPS to fit with our philosophy. This was unsuccessful, primarily for a few reasons:
- It was so content heavy that it did not allow learners the time to get to grips and understand the purpose and applicable value of what they were learning.
- Like many other countries, the curriculum was heavily focused on assessment. Teaching was then focused on helping learners pass and not helping them to think and understand.
- The above two points also meant that our teachers were overworked and stressed. Teaching for content was definitely not fun.
- Finally, CAPS literally graded learners. Learners could only pass or fail a grade, regardless of how that learner performed in individual subjects.
Although the Department of Basic Education has a National Curriculum that is followed in public schools it is actually Universities South Africa’s Matriculation Board that determines:
- Certifying applications for exemption;
- Benchmarking international and regional qualifications from South African Development Community (SADC); and
- Advisory services to schools, parents and higher education institutions regarding minimum admission requirements.
The Matriculation Board provides an important service to students who do not meet the statutory minimum admission requirements to enter degree studies. It gives non-traditional and mature students access to higher education by assessing their current qualifications and helping them improve these to an acceptable university entrance level.
Click here for more information on The Matriculation Board.
As such over a hundred ‘curriculum’ and their qualifications are recognized as a means of entry into tertiary institutions in South Africa.
EduExcellence chose the Cambridge Curriculum for a number of reasons:
- It’s history and credibility. Supported by Cambridge University the curriculum has been well researched and supported and is used in over 150 countries. Cambridge Qualifications are also recognized for entry into most international universities.
- It unashamedly supports critical thinking with a global perspective. To such an extent that those concepts are offered as subjects! The curriculum and the assessments want to ensure that learners understand how to apply the knowledge they are receiving in their schooling.
- It recognizes that learners progress at an individualized pace within each subject. This has two very important implications for learners:
a. They can be at different levels for different subjects.
b. They can write assessments when they are ready – this allows learners to either accelerate their learning or slow the pace down.
For more information on Cambridge, parents can go here: http://cie.org.uk/cambridge-for/parents-and-students/
For parents wanting answers to typical questions related to Cambridge, please check out our FAQ