Monday, 24 May 2021

TEACHERS REJECT ASSESSMENT PROGRAMME

TEACHERS have rejected government proposal to implement the continuous assessment learning areas (Cala) programme which they say has the potential to disturb pupils who are struggling to catch up after COVID-19 pandemic disruptions.

Under Cala, pupils were suppose to do projects and tasks in school, which would constitute 30% of their coursework for the final examination under the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council for each subject.

Training of teachers for the continuous assessment programme is underway. Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe recently wrote to the Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema, urging government to withdraw the programme as it was overloading on underpaid workers.

In the letter dated May 20, 2021, Majongwe said the programme would not succeed as it was being implemented at a time when teachers were incapacitated and the syllabi coverage had been stalled by COVID-19 disruptions.

“We have observed that the past two weeks have been dominated by rumours and confirmation that teachers were being called upon to attend workshops on the implementation of continuous assessment,” Majongwe said.

“To us, this is literally a bolt out of the blue, notwithstanding the fact that you are empowered to make decisions on behalf of the ministry. We note, however, that the whole continuous assessment project is punctuated by problems.”

He castigated the government for failing to fund the programme since it was ordering “incapacitated” teachers to cater for their expenses to attend training workshops.

“The current Cala implementation exercise comes as a shock to learners and teachers who now have to create time for Calas, on top of having to strive to finish or at least cover a big part of the syllabuses that they have not done since the first lockdown.

“It would seem that your ministry is interested in ticking boxes for the gratification of government instead of doing a diligent job. Where and when was the pilot phase of the Calas done? The idea that the ministry comes up with such an important exercise and goes headlong into implementation is terrifying and an affront to the principles of curriculum formulation and implementation.”

Mathema refused to comment on the matter.  “Why do you want to write the story? I don’t need to confirm anything to you. Just write whatever you want,” Mathema said. Newsday

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