By NKOSENTSHA KHUMALO
PARENTS and guardians of primary and secondary school learners have raised concern over the Continuous Assessment Learning Activity (Cala) policy, saying it is proving too expensive for learners to afford the materials needed for the projects.
Those who spoke to NewsDay suggested that the new learning tool should be scrapped because the policy was not properly formulated, taking into consideration the materials needed for its implementation.
They said Cala had made their children hate school.
“Children at primary schools now do 10 subjects which require internet research, and this is straining them. The Cala project is too complex and expensive as it comes with many demands that require money to be forked out, including internet data, which we cannot afford,” one parent told NewsDay.
Another parent, Silethukuthula Sithole said: “Children now hate school. Parents are also failing to understand the Cala projects in order for them to assist their children with the projects. Teachers are the ones who were trained to understand how the Cala projects are done, yet they push us to assist the children with the projects. What it means is that we are now learning together with our children, as we are the ones who end up doing their homework.”
Other parents felt that teachers themselves did not understand the new curriculum.
“The new curriculum requires many items like that children must have smartphones,” Sibangani Dube, a parent said.
Pumula legislator Sichelesile Mahlangu (Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) believes Cala should be scrapped.
“I agree with the residents who are advocating for the removal of the new curriculum as it has many requirements and parents cannot afford it. I confronted the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Evelyn Ndlovu, on the issue of Cala projects saying they required a lot of money, for example, printing expenses,” she said.
“The new curriculum is very selective as it favours privileged children, while children from poor backgrounds cannot afford to fund Cala projects.”
Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Edgar Moyo said the new curriculum was implemented to give learners more technical skills, and to keep up with current times as Zimbabwe cannot remain behind in terms of technological advances.
“The new curriculum was implemented as a result of recommendations from a commission of inquiry. It seeks to encourage the learners to get into part of the activities through research, rather than have them spend most of the time seated in class,” he said.
“Learners need to be more equipped with technical skills and innovation than to wait for teachers to always narrate notes to them.”
Moyo said government was still considering recommendations made by different teachers’ organisations on the issue of curriculum review at a meeting held three weeks ago.
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