CAPS: More Harm than Help?

Often, as Learning Centres and Tutors, we get parents telling us how worried they are about their child’s progress. It is then expected of us to make miracles happen on the dawn of exams. Most of the problems can be placed on the doorstep of our current education curriculum. Here are a couple of reasons why we think CAPS is harming your child:

Over Contented

Putting too much content in a curriculum, leaves no time for the average student to process given information and create a solid foundation of the concepts taught to them. Teachers are struggling to complete the lessons in the available time, thus resulting in stacks of homework. Proper research on the impact of homework (watch this space for a blog on this subject), we found that homework is actually detrimental to a child’s development for numerous reasons. Most important is that it takes away from your child’s “ME-TIME” that is essential to prevent emotional and social developmental delays. In short, it can result in an unmotivated, underachieving child that is tired all the time, causing the parents concern

Restricted Consolidation time

The biggest issue in the CAPS curriculum is the lack of continuity, thus most subjects jump from topic to topic, with no time for consolidation through repetition. Not all children have the ability to cope with this. There is no allowance for depth of knowledge to settle, resulting in a confused child, no matter their level of processing skills. Children need time for concepts to consolidate, and not just once, but with repetition. With the huge amounts of work that MUST be done, it leaves most children feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed for not being able to keep up with the expected pace.


Tests have proven repeatedly to not be an accurate way to gauge a child’s understanding of a certain topic. Just because a child does not test well does not mean that they don’t understand the subject. It may be that he or she just does not do well with a test atmosphere or the pressure that that entails. And forgive me for putting it bluntly, but NO child is emotionally ready to do assessments in the developmental stages of grades 1-3. It is unnecessary pressure that no child should be forced to handle. It becomes a snowball effect of parents stressing about test scores which will indirectly put more pressure on the student, resulting in anxiety related disorders.

Rigid and unyielding

Educators are pressured by time constraints to not allow much time for free-thinking and creative exploration resulting in lessons being boring, monotonous. Focus should be on Skills-development, free-thinking and not just content. There is no value in a rigid curriculum that tries to force all the students in the country to be on some imaginary level.

Innovators or Donkeys?

What we are doing is producing little parrots that are only expected to regurgitate what was taught in class. And in a time in our country where we desperately need entrepreneurs and out-the-box-thinkers to help develop and save our economy, we are developing adults that won’t be able to come up with original ideas, have problem solving skills or have any initiative of their own. CAPS is focused on assessments and that is IT! No space for skills and a different way of thinking.

In conclusion, if we don’t stimulate our children to think for themselves, be creative and be able to work out solutions, we will have an entire generation of young adults just slumping through life with nothing to add and no motivation to be the best that they can be.

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