Some teachers have urged the government and the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) to temporarily shelve the implementation of Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALAs) because of disruptions caused by COVID-19.
CALAs refers to learning activities that require learners to perform, demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and proficiency.
This is done through practical activities such as data collection through interviews, questionnaires, checklists, observations and experiments.
In March 2021, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education announced the urgent revival of the CALAs for 2021 candidates meaning the activities are being done by Grade Seven, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level candidates.
But a Harare-based high school teacher who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com on condition of anonymity argued that this is not the right time to implement CALAs. She said:
Some of these CALAs require students to interact with the community for interviews, their teachers for guidance as well as their peers for discussions which is tricky in this environment.
For example, learners are expected to do demonstrations in subjects like Physical Education, Sports and Mass Displays, construct and design of structures and models in technical subjects which require the physical presence of the teacher to guide the learner or do dramatisations for those doing languages and Literature.
The government had delayed the reopening of schools, banned gatherings, prohibited non-essential travel as part of a cocktail of measures to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Another teacher who spoke to the publication also called for the suspension of the continuous assessment framework, at least for now. Said the teacher:
The continued extension of school reopening means damage to the implementation of CALAs because they need time to be completed and this delay eats into that time.
However, it must be noted that the extension is necessary and unavoidable because it is a question of life and death as Covid thrives in our congested classes and schools.
This is why we want them to be stopped in the meantime.
Government has maintained that CALA will proceed as planned but it remains to be seen if this position will remain unchanged.