Education for sustainable agriculture: the old and new curricula for agricultural sciences in South African schools

  • Moraig Peden UKZN


This article explores the support given to Education for Sustainable Agriculture (ESA) by
the South African Agricultural Sciences school curricula. It compares two post-apartheid
curricula: the current Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and the phased-out
National Curriculum Statement (NCS) for Agricultural Sciences in terms of content,
knowledge requirements, cognitive processes and philosophies of education for sustainable
agriculture, as well as the role of assessment and the stated purpose of the curricula. While
the NCS had a vision of sustainable agriculture and of a progressive curriculum, these aims
were not supported in the detail of the curriculum. The CAPS presents a shift back to more
traditional, discipline-based agriculture, with a detailed curriculum, which provides more
support for ESA in terms of fundamental ecological knowledge as well as sustainable
agriculture strategies. However, the CAPS, has fewer requirements for practical agriculture,
higher order learning and engagement with broad socio-economic issues. The paper
concludes with recommendations for supporting ESA, through teacher education and
amendments to the assessment requirements.

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