Historically, the department was first set up as the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) on 1st March, 1978 (Education Department Circular 31/1978) with the aim of centralising all curriculum programmes and activities, and developing curriculum materials in accordance with the 1972 Education Policy. A series of reorganisations affecting both the structure and role of the CDC soon took place due to the reorganisation of the Education Department in 1980 (Education Department Circular 163/1980) when the Centre was renamed the Curriculum and Textbook Unit (CTU) in 1 February 1982.
Then, soon after independence, in August 1984, the CTU was upgraded to a Section within the organisational structure of the newly formed Ministry of Education and Health. In that organisational set up, the Curriculum Development Section (CDS) gained more authority, with equal and parallel status with other Sections in the Ministry. On 13 November 1986, the CDS was upgraded to a full Department within the organisational structure of the Ministry of Education, giving the Department greater involvement in the decision-making process concerning educational policy in general and curriculum development in particular and as it presently known as Curriculum Development Department (CDD).