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Education stakeholders blast Continuous Assessment Leaning Activities

by Chamunorwa Matanhike
11 Sep 2021 at 13:46hrs | Views
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education's decision to go ahead with Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) for 2021 examination classes has been castigated by education stakeholders.

In a circular to stakeholders, MOPSE permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela instructed schools to implement Continuous Assessment Leaning Activities for Grade 7, Form 4 and Form 6 learners.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said teachers are grossly incapacitated and not in a position to wholeheartedly cover the syllabus as well as oversee the CALA researches and assessment.

"The Ministry is setting itself up for a huge but unnecessary embarrassment by chewing more than can be swallowed at this point in time. We still maintain that CALAs should be postponed to next year and be written by the next group of candidates."

"To put matters into perspective, a Grade 7 candidate who is writing six subjects this year will do eighteen CALAs before the end of October, while an A Level candidate will do at least nine and an "O" Level candidate, writing five subjects will do fifteen," complained Majongwe.

National Association of School Heads (NASH) president Arthur Maphosa questioned how teachers are going to oversee the CALAS considering the little time left.

"The teachers are expected to mark twenty-seven CALAs per learner multiplied by forty learners within two months. Worse still at a high school some teachers teach two learning areas. This is not possible," said Maphosa.

Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads (ZINUSH) secretary general Munyaradzi Majoni said that insisting on CALAs in the 2021 ZIMSEC session could be the worst mistake the ministry can make.

"It's a decision which is all wrong and hugely uninformed by what is on the ground. We are in schools and I can tell you with absolute certainty that any attempt to bulldoze CALAs this year will be disastrous," said Majoni

Education Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) secretary general Tapedza Zhou views the MOPSE decision as insensitive and incompetent.

"MOPSE's persistence that CALA should continue is an insensitive and incompetent decision. The world over, responsible authorities have put down mitigatory measures in view of the decimating Covid 19 pandemic in various ways."

"In our case, this resulted in the introduction of a compressed syllabus. Paradoxically, a compressed syllabus is then immediately followed by CALAs which just revives back the stress for the student and teacher, which had been avoided in the first place," said Zhou

Zhou warned that if MOPSE insisted with CALAs, CALAs are going to be sold in the streets and the ministry is going to be contaminated by illicit deals between students and teachers.

A high school teacher who asked not to be named said CALAs are going to burden learners and teachers as they prepare for the final examinations.

"CALAs are a huge burden on learners whose main focus, at this time should be preparing for the upcoming exams. For a learner doing eight subjects to be expected to complete twenty-four CALAs at a time when learning time was disrupted by Covid 19 induced lockdown is simply asking for too much."

"Teachers are also ill prepared for CALAs, after so much teaching and learning time was lost, teachers must be focused on completing their syllabi and preparing learners for exams," he said.

A ZIMSEC 'A' level candidate Kellen-harp Mapfuka said CALAS came too late and are going to burden learners.
"The Calas came too late as there is so much to cover. Some CALAs require students to go out into the community to investigate of which due to Covid 19, it is now difficult to go into households," she said.

A parent, Nhamo Mugandani said that even though he gets the importance of CALAs, their implementation was hurried as they were supposed to start from Grade 3 and Form 1.

MOPSE spokesperson Taungana Ndoro was not available for comment.

Source - Chamunorwa Matanhike