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Residents call for review of CALA

Bulawayo residents have called for a reduction of the number of Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) saying that it is a burden to learners especially those without access to adequate resources.

CALA was introduced in 2015 by the former Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora which was later taken up by his successor Paul Mavima before he was transferred to the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry.

The education model now forms part of the learners’ outcomes in grade 7, form 4, and Upper 6 examinations.

Grade 7 examinations are now determined by 30 percent of CALA marks and 70 percent exams, form 4 and upper 6 results are determined by 40 percent theoretical examination, 30 percent practical skills, and 30 percent continuous learning.

The concept emphasizes the assessment of knowledge, skills, abilities, values, and trends to ascertain the achievement of a learner.

In a press briefing, last week, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary for administration, Thembelani Dube said they are concerned about the effectiveness and sustainability of CALA.  

“Residents have stated that although it’s a good initiative, the amount of time, energy and material resources expended on CALA is disproportionate to its weighting,” said Dube.

He said students spend far too much time on it at the expense of the summative assessment final exams.

“CALA has not only emphasised the digital divide within our schools and communities but exacerbated the class division. So much time and money is spent on the internet which requires expensive data.

“Not all students have access to the internet or data. Furthermore, parents have lamented the ever-rising data charges as the program requires students to research online, download material online, and also print it out in colour which is another added cost,” said Dube.

He added that other parents have also expressed concern over its effectiveness as most of the research part is done by the parents, mainly due to limited resources in the form of gadgets.

“The CALA questions or tasks are in most instances beyond the cognitive level of learners,” said Dube.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Director of Communication and Advocacy, Taungana Ndoro said they are currently holding consultations with parents and pupils on the curriculum review.   

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