BULAWAYO residents have pleaded with the government to suspend the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities Programme (CALA), arguing that the programme is elitist and consumes time and financial resources for parents.

CALA is a student assessment system that was implemented in the final term of 2021.

Under the system ZIMSEC candidates’ physical and behavioral skills are assessed continuously (coursework) to contribute 30 percent to their final marks.

Summative or knowledge skills assessed during examinations contribute 70 percent to the candidate’s final grade. Addressing journalists, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Secretary for Administration Thembalani Dube said while CALA is a good initiative, most schools and students  lack technological capacity to implement the programme.

“BPRA upon consultation with residents is concerned by the effectiveness and sustainability of the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities programme (CALA). Residents have stated that although the programme is a good initiative, the amount of time, energy and material resources expended on CALA is disproportionate to its weighing.

“Students spend far too much time on it at the expense of the summative assessment final examinations,” said Dube.

The BPRA official said the programme has also created digital divide within schools and communities.

“So much time and money is spent on the internet which requires expensive data. Not all students have access to internet or data. Further , parents have lamented the ever-rising data charges as the programmes requires students to research online , download online material and also print it out in colour which is another cost,” said Dube.

Dube also noted that most of the CALA research was being done by parents themselves.

“Other parents have also expressed concerns over its (CALA) effectiveness as most of the research part is done by the parents, mainly due to limited resources in the form of gadgets. The CALA questions or tasks are in most instances beyond the cognitive level of the learners,” he said.

CALA has been received with reservations by most parents who feel the policy, is proving to be too expensive for learners to afford the materials needed for the projects.

Source NewZimbabwe