Is Zimbabwe really ready for CALA?

The educational curriculum focusing on Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) is facing a lot of backlashes. Its implementation is by the government of Zimbabwe. However, some parents want it gone and some teachers are overwhelmed by its workload. Also, implementing these assessments in rural areas is proving to be a bigger challenge. However, the idea of CALA is commendable as it is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Zimbabwe wants future leaders to grasp the core fundamentals of these SDGs. With that, the powers that be are pushing hard for the success of the learning activities.

So, for those who are not sure what CALA is, it is the implementation of Continuous Assessment Learning Activities in Zimbabwe’s education system. CALA is a policy from the government to capture coursework performance for basic education learners. It involves various learning activities and assessments that require students to conduct detailed research-based activities. Moreso, it incorporates practical activities such as data collection, interviews, questionnaires, observations, and experiments. 

Additionally, the CALA curriculum is currently up for review. The past couple of months to date have seen a heated discussion regarding renewal of CALA. It is now time for the renewal of the curriculum and the government says it is including stakeholders on how best to shape it. There are ongoing discussions and controversies surrounding its renewal. Moreover, there are concerns regarding lack of training, financial burden, and corruption in its implementation. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education plans to engage these stakeholders to gather their input on the curriculum.

Continuous Assessment Learning Activities criticism and suggested solutions.

The effectiveness and implementation of CALA is facing criticism from students, parents and teachers. Some concerns include the lack of training prior to its introduction and the financial burden it places on parents. Also, the difficulty students face in understanding and completing the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities projects is of concern. Moreover, there are reports of corruption in the implementation of CALA. Students are allegedly paying teachers to do assignments for them.

However, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education maintains that CALA has shown positive outcomes. A 4% improvement in Grade 7 results in 2021 compared to the previous year is on record according to the Ministry. Also, some stakeholders recommend that the government restructure the implementation of Continuous Assessment Learning Activities. They urge the investment in capacity building for teachers. There is also a need for provision of necessary materials for implementation. Additionally, ensuring competitive remuneration for teachers to enhance morale and curb corruption will help. At the moment, this may be a tall order as the nation is facing a myriad of economic challenges. With some development in other sectors such as infrastructure, mining and agriculture, education should be on top of the list as well. 

Therefore, the nation awaits to see the final outcome regarding the renewal of CALA. Will there be any changes to address the challenges and problems being faced? Is the government going to implement the recommendations given by stakeholders? Or will the CALA curriculum be scraped? It is yet to be seen.

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