This qualitative, exploratory study aims to understand how grade three educators in Limpopo, South Africa, approach the curriculum implementation. The study recognizes the National Curriculum Statements (NCS) as the core curriculum guideline for basic education in South Africa and that the Curriculum and Assessment Policy (CAPS) offers practical implementation guidelines and directives to the NCS.
Triangulated data collection techniques, involving interviews, classroom observations and document analysis, were employed to gather information. In an effort to understand the daily realities educators experience in their implementation of curriculum changes, Rogan and Grayson?s (2003) theory of curriculum implementation was applied to nine case studies. The Atlas.ti software package was used to analyse data.
The analysis of data revealed that inconsistencies existed between the optimistic? view of the Department of Education to improve curriculum implementation despite continuously changing the curriculum, and the pessimistic? scenario where educators consistently speak of obstacles to curriculum implementation. The main findings of the study show that CAPS implementation is hampered by inadequate training of teachers, poor understanding of curriculum reforms, poor involvement of educators in the curriculum development processes, poor resources and work overload. The study argues for the necessity to stabilize curriculum changes given the associated implementation challenges of policy overload within the South African education system. The study further shows that in the highly politicized education context of South Africa, curriculum implementation takes a back seat to institutional political machinations.