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Introduction of CALA ill-timed, legislators tell education minister

The Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA), is ill-timed, legislators told the new Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu in Parliament, Wednesday.

CALA which is part of the new education curriculum will see the learner’s final mark now incorporating both course work and final examination.

The final mark in a subject for a grade 7 pupil for example will now constitute 30 percent of CALA and 70 percent of the final examination.

Speaking during a question and answer session in the National Assembly, lawmakers said CALA was being implemented at the wrong time when schools had been closed for the greater part of the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Allow me to highlight a few issues,” said Bikita East legislator, Johnson Madhuku.

“I think it is on record that the educators today, as well as the learners, are lamenting over the introduction of this continuous assessment learning activity programme (CALA). Why are they crying – it is because of the untimely introduction of this good assessment model but the timing is the problem.”

He further explained: “We are not actually condemning the whole system as an assessment model. It is very good worldwide, that is what is being done but we are saying the timing, the learners have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic whereby they lost a lot of learning time and they are supposed to sit for the examinations.”

Umzingwane legislator, Levy Mayihlome, said the assessment should have been carried over a long period of time.

“The assessment was supposed to have been done over a long period, at shortest, maybe one year and not one semester,” Mayihlome said.

“One semester is not just on. What kind of students are we producing as a nation, what are we trying to achieve – and we give 30% for that? Are we really serious that we are giving 30% for work that a child has not done? If you give those children an assessment when they go to Form 1 next year, you will see how many of them will pass, because they know nothing about CALA.”

In her response, Dr Ndlovu said her ministry would continuously examine CALA in order to attend to some challenges associated with it.

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