Bring Back CALA?
22 September 2023
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In a significant development, Zimbabwe’s Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Torerayi Moyo, announced yesterday that the future of Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) will be unveiled by the end of this month. This revelation comes following recent public hearings seeking input on the CALA system, which represents a shift away from traditional knowledge-based final examinations towards competency-based evaluation.

CALA requires students in Grade Seven, O-Level, and A-Level to engage in school projects and tasks, constituting 30 percent of their final examination coursework under the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) for each subject.

In May, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education initiated consultations with stakeholders to gather feedback on CALA. These hearings, which took place on May 23 and 24, utilized every school as a consultation center.

The public consultations yielded a spectrum of opinions, with some parents and guardians advocating for CALA’s continuation, while others voiced concerns about affordability, especially for learners from low-income families.

Addressing an audience of pupils, teachers, and stakeholders at the 3rd National Annual Science, Sport, and Arts Festival (NASSAF) at Chaplin High School in Gweru, Minister Moyo stressed the importance of public input on the CALA issue. He thanked parents, pupils, stakeholders, and educational partners who participated in the consultative meetings to shape the curriculum in alignment with national development needs.

Minister Moyo revealed that a team of consultants has been engaged to analyze and synthesize the collected data, ultimately influencing the decision on the curriculum for the next seven years. He emphasized that the fate of CALA hinges on the evidence gathered from this process, with the official report set for public release at the end of the month.

Regarding NASSAF, Minister Moyo explained that the event aligns with a 21st-century education approach, emphasizing creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. NASSAF serves as a platform for learners to showcase their skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes across various disciplines, from technical graphics to contemporary dance and ICT.

Minister Moyo commended the innovations displayed by learners, highlighting the importance of a whole-of-government approach in nurturing talents and promoting economic development, particularly in the arts and sciences. The event not only highlights academic achievements but also fosters qualities like discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship through sports participation.

In conclusion, Minister Moyo emphasized the nation’s commitment to producing enterprising youth capable of translating their learning into innovative products and services, creating income opportunities, and contributing to employment generation.

The awaited report on CALA, set to be revealed by month-end, will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for Zimbabwe’s education system.