By Nancy Samuriwo
GOVERNMENT had advised private and external candidates who are to sit for the ZIMSEC examinations this year to make arrangements for CALA with their examination centres.
CALA refers to Continuous Assessment Learning Activities, a phenomenon whereby the final examination grade is obtained from both examination mark and marks from coursework during the candidate’s period of learning.
Deputy Minister of Primary and Education, Edgar Moyo, yesterday told Parliament that CALA was being applied to both conventional candidates and those who sit as private or external candidates.
“Continuous assessment is not a new phenomenon in the education sector. It has always been there, albeit limited only to practical subjects,” Moyo said.
“We are merely extending it to all the other subjects and the idea is not to punish children by examining them and looking for what they do not know but taking into account their performances during the course of the learning period.
“… children attend primary school for nine years and then you subject them to one and half hours to determine what they learnt all in nine years of primary education. So we are saying let us take on board their performances from time to time so that they contribute a percentage to the final mark.”
Moyo added that private examination candidates are advised to link up with the schools where they are registered so that they can be given the necessary activities to undertake and take them to those schools for marking, recording and capturing of those marks for transmission to ZIMSEC.
Moyo also reiterated that there was no change to the examinations calender so far. Grade Sevens start examinations end of November. The ‘O’ and ‘A’ level examinations start in mid December and overlap into 2022.
“We think our children would have been prepared for examinations by that time. Insofar as the point that children have lost time, we are employing catch up strategies to ensure that the children do catch up and one of them is through blended learning where we are using different learning and teaching platforms.
“Inclusive of that is going to be materials that are going to be given to children and some of them have not been given those materials and e-learning so that they do catch-up.”
This year will have only two school terms after a long level 4 national lockdown from June to August forced schools to shut down as Covid-19 cases spiked. The June examinations were also effectively cancelled. □