Members of Parliament on Wednesday grilled newly-appointed Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Evelyn Ndlovu, over the controversial Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA), saying its implementation was ill-timed.
CALA which is part of the new education curriculum will see the learner’s final mark now incorporating both course work and final examination.
Speaking during a question and answer session in the National Assembly, lawmakers said CALA was being implemented at the wrong time when schools had been closed for the greater part of the year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bikita East legislator, Johnson Madhuku (ZANU PF), said:
Allow me to highlight a few issues. I think it is on record that the educators today, as well as the learners, are lamenting over the introduction of this continuous assessment learning activity programme (CALA).
Why are they crying – it is because of the untimely introduction of this good assessment model but the timing is the problem.
We are not actually condemning the whole system as an assessment model. It is very good worldwide, that is what is being done but we are saying the timing, the learners have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic whereby they lost a lot of learning time and they are supposed to sit for the examinations.
Umzingwane legislator, Levy Mayihlome (ZANU PF), weighed in, saying the assessment should have been carried over a long period of time. Said Mayohlome:
The assessment was supposed to have been done over a long period, at the shortest, maybe one year and not one semester.
One semester is not just on. What kind of students are we producing as a nation, what are we trying to achieve – and we give 30% for that? Are we really serious that we are giving 30% for work that a child has not done?
If you give those children an assessment when they go to Form 1 next year, you will see how many of them will pass, because they know nothing about CALA.
In her response, Ndlovu said her ministry would continuously examine CALA in order to attend to some challenges associated with it.
Deputy Primary and Secondary Education Minister Edgar Moyo recently said students will not get their examination results if they do not have the continuous assessment learning activities (CALAs) marks.
According to the policy framework, the new grading system will see Grade 7 final results determined by 30 per cent of continuous assessment and 70 per cent on national examinations.
At Form 4, the framework states that learners’ grades will be based on 40 per cent for theoretical examination, 30 per cent for practical examination and 30 per cent for continuous assessment.
For the Advanced level, continuous assessment carries 30 per cent with the bulk of the marks going to the final examination.