Curriculum review consultations draw fire; parents, teachers demand CALA scrapping

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By Alois Vinga

THE recent call by the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry for stakeholders to give their input into the new curriculum has already started drawing fire amid widespread calls to dump the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA).

The review will be held on May 23 and 24 with every school used as a consultation centre.

The new curriculum earned former Education Minister, Lazarus Dokora in 2015 grave unpopularity as it entailed learners to undertake ‘tormenting’ projects as part of the coursework required for the exams final outcome.

Some citizens have seen a lucrative opportunity to make money as they now charge a fee to undertake the CALA exercises on behalf of learners.

The curriculum also saw the introduction of the National Pledge which was eventually declared unconstitutional.

However, ahead of the consultations, many parents who have endured the burdens of burning midnight oil while assisting their children to complete the exercises took to social media saying the activities are not serving any meaningful purpose.

Speaking to, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said the CALA component must be fine-tuned.

“The number of burdensome CALAs must be reduced to four at Primary and eight  at secondary level. The CALAs must be more relevant and focus on development of skills and not necessarily writing 5-10 pages.

“A footballer must be assessed while playing soccer, a musician while singing or playing a guitar. In the current form even great musicians like Macheso will fail music primary school CALA, reduced to mere writing of 5-8 pages in good English,” he said.

A submission widely circulated on social media as early as Monday morning questioned the rationale of judging students’ performance done on their behalf by parents and guardians.

“Not all households with school going children have phones with Internet access to research, data charges too high, what about rural children or those in the care of the elderly who are not computer literate?

“Children now lacking social skills, they have no time to play and socialise because of the time spent doing these CALAs,” said the paper.

There are reports that students now prefer to abscond school if  they have not completed the CALA.

The parents strongly feel that there is no practicality being taught since most CALA exercises remain largely theoretical.

“The need to provide children with smartphones for research has exposed them to all things found in the internet, eg sex at tender ages, pornography, homosexuality etc.

“The education system does not provide equal opportunities through this CALA. Most schools have no computers, no Internet access, not enough resources for this Curriculum,” some of the submissions circulating on social media read.