January 18, 2022

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CALAs Colonizing And Corrupting Meaningful Teaching- Union

By Branton Matondo

A trade union recently shown dismay towards continuous assessment learning activity program in primary and secondary schools citing that the colonizing and disbanding that it has from reasonable teaching practice of students.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary education in conjunction with the Zimbabwean School Examination Council (ZIMSEC) imposed CALAs with an objective of officiating continuous practical assessment of exam classes from primary level to secondary, a move that will see 30% of the final ZIMSEC mark being derived from the initiative.

However, a local trade union believe that Zimbabwe’s education system is now caught in a muddle.

In an official statement released on the 7th of October, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou described the dominance of CALAs in primary and secondary schools as a retrogressive movement towards meaningful teaching.

“The pre occupation of CALAs in schools has virtually crippled meaningful learning and teaching in schools. Against professional advice given by the teacher unions the ministry of primary and secondary education has imposed upon teachers and learners the burdensome CALAs program. The cumulative effect is that teachers have stopped learning in schools while learners have stopped learning in schools in order to focus on the defective CALAs” said Zhou.

The actual program states that grade seven students are tasked to fulfill 18 CALAs while O’level students have 45 CALAs.

“The projects have been difficult to do by learners, let alone monitor and supervise by teachers. Several other students under the incessant CALA pressure have turned to mercenaries to have CALAs done for them for USD10 per project for grade seven and USD20 for form four.”

An engagement with student and teachers from Midlands shows that CALAs execution is torrid though, if given much resource and time allocation can produce a complete student.

One of the students (name withheld) said, “Most of our teachers are not clinical when it comes to CALAs assessment. They do not have enough expertise on how to execute the program. It becomes even difficult for us students because we have to read syllabus, complete them and move with the pace of our teachers.”

One of the teachers from an urban school, who sought for anonymity of identity said “CALAs are cumbersome, increased workloads on an already suffocating workload is very bad. However, if enough allocations are put in place, Zimbabwe might see a well cooked, effective student with practical knowledge.”

An engagement by this publication with rural teachers indicate that teachers are demotivated.

A long serving teacher from Silobela post on Sunday that, “Teachers here are demotivated, not only because another workload has been piled up but for the fact that students are unable to complete these tasks due to a culmination of reasons, chief among them being lack of resources. So it’s common that students fail to understand the real meaning of CALAs.”