Teachers have expressed concern over the Continuous Assessment Learning Activity (CALA) following the delay of schools opening saying the expected outcomes might not be met.
Under CALA, pupils are supposed to carry out projects and tasks in schools, which will constitute 30% of their coursework for the final examination under the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC).
Speaking in an interview, Tendai Shonge a Gweru based teacher said students will have limited time to do their CALAs, a condition which might lead them to fail to produce the best results, because some of them have been failing to access online lessons and catch-up lessons during the lockdown period.
“We are working on a tentative school calendar and learners may end up rushing over topics of different learning areas in order to meet deadlines at the end and therefore they will not produce their best. On the part of the learner, there may be detrimental factors which include, not being able to meet deadlines, or failing to do a thorough research in all the CALA components, because most of the topics may require one to do research under difficult conditions or limited timeframes,” Said Shange.
“CALA is a very effective assessment tool if implemented well, and it brings positive results. However, with this Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the curriculum may be overloaded. The desired results may not be achieved as expected,” added Shonge as she expressed an opinion.
Learn more Tseye a teacher at a primary school in Mutare also expressed concern that said his learners will start doing their CALAs only after schools have opened and they would be lagging behind.” I just don’t know how I will be able to balance it out” he quipped.
CALA was introduced last year and constitutes 30% of the total examination marks for Grade Seven, Ordinary and Advanced Level students.
Commenting on the situation, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association Acting Secretary General , Goodwill Taderera, said the delay in implementing CALA was unfortunate because learners would lag behind. He called on the government to ensure that teachers’ demands were met with urgency so that they could swiftly assist students with their CALA projects without any further hindrances, adding that teachers needed motivation particularly in 2022.
“ Teachers need to be paid their upgraded salaries, once that is done, teachers will step up and motivation level will increase as well,” He said.
According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, (MOPSE), the CALA program is part of the new curriculum adopted by the government in 2015, but had been shelved because of lack of resources among other challenges. Mopse presented CALA as any learning activity or assessment that requires learners to perform, demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and proficiency. The Continuous Assessment Learning Activity yields a tangible product and performance that serve as evidence of learning. It also presents a situation that calls for learners to apply their learning in context, a pathway research project and a detailed study venture done by a learner in a chosen career area.