Parents accros the country have rejected the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) saying it disadvantages learners from impoverished families, contrary to the principle of inclusivity in the educational system of the country.
CALA, for Grade Seven, O-Level and A-Level learners only, is a program under the competence based curriculum that was established in 2015 by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
The program was introduced through the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) in 2021 as a candidate assessment procedure that tries to harness the positives that may be deciphered from various technologies that punctuate the digital world, but unfortunately parents are saying it is costly and time consuming.
During the curriculum review consultations this week, guardians bemoaned the exclusiveness of CALA, saying it should be rejected because learners from low income families were not benefiting from it.
“CALA project is draining, on top of paying school fees, I am also required to buy expensive CALA materials for each subject.
“All the expenses that come along with the CALA projects are too much and we are struggling,” a parent from Magunje said.
Another parent from Karoi said CALA projects are so hectic that learners can’t do them on their own.
“My boy can not do this thing alone, I have to chip in most of the times when I am swamped.
“So this means that I am the one who does his work, when they give him marks, they are mine, and this would mean there is no competence because he knows nothing at the end of the day,” he said.
Under this hectic program, learners carry out projects in schools, which constitute 30% of their coursework for the final examination for each subject.
In a statement, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) said CALA was costly and time consuming.
“It requires internet for research, which then imposes mobile data costs and needs laptops and mobile devices, among others, on top of the regularly hiking fees.
“In a country where the majority of the citizens are living in poverty, Cala widens the learning inequality gaps as those from privileged backgrounds will be the only ones that can afford to learn,” Artuz said.
In a statement, Primary and Secondary Education ministry secretary Tumisang Thabela said government would consider the views of all stakeholders in shaping the education Zimbaweans want for their children.