Students Bribed Teachers To Do Their Continuous Assessment (CALA) Modules

Many students at primary and secondary schools are alleged to paid bribes of around US$10 to US$20 to teachers to "assist" them do their "debatable" Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) modules.

CALA was added to the learning curriculum this year and it contributes to a large 30% of the overall exam marks for Grade Seven, Ordinary and Advanced Level students. It calls for learners to perform, exhibit their knowledge, expertise and proficiency of the subject concerned via academic activities.

Grade 7, Form 4 and Form 6 learners have been pressured to do CALA after an order to schools from Primary and Secondary Education secretary Tumisang Thabela despite that learning was affected by lengthy breaks brought about by COVID-19 lockdowns. Though teachers argued for CALA to be suspended, the govenment turned a deaf ear.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou yesterday informed Parliament that some work submitted by students for CALA was clearly carried out for them by other people for a fee.

"There has been an emergence of some people overnight claiming that there are specialists ready to do CALA for students," he said.

"So we are seeing the submission of certain CALA projects, not necessarily originating from students because they were hard-pressed.

"Those with access to money ended up buying people (including teachers) to do it for them, and so we would not be assessing the students’ work but an academic mercenary’s work.

"The cost for a primary school project is US$10. Primary pupils are doing three projects per subject area, and with six subject areas, they have to do 18 projects in all.

"Secondary pupils’ projects are charged at US$20 per project. Pupils do three projects per subject area and so you can see how lucrative the venture has emerged to be in schools."

Zhou said students needed to be assessed on an identical platform and that the implementation of CALA was rushed which makes it biased due to other students cheating.

"The whole essence of CALA is that we must create an equal platform for assessing our students from an equal position. It shouldn’t be an added advantage to students with access to money. We must look at a student in Chiendambuya or Mberengwa. Can that student produce meaningful CALA projects without rigorous training, monitoring and supervision by the teacher?"

"There are lot of questions that have not been answered and what we see is a rash decision along a wrong direction," Zhou said.

"The speed is also too much. I think we need to put some brakes somehow."

A Form 6 pupil at a high school in Mt Darwin informed NewsDay that some students paid US$3 to have their CALA tasks carried out for them by other people.

Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro confirmed having received such reports, however said the ministry had handled the issue.

"Yes, there were reported cases of schools where some teachers were charging for CALA. We have since dealt with that issue. The reports were minimal and we have since dealt with them decisively. I can’t say the implicated schools off head," Ndoro said.

CALA is a part of Agenda 2030, a worldwide agenda that demands that by 2030 nations ought to produce students with lifesaving skills.

Source : Newsday

Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.

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