Pupils in rural schools face myriad challenges which include lack of learning facilities and qualified teachers

BULAWAYO – Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) says the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) has increased learning disparities faced by rural pupils as most rural schools lack the infrastructure and resources necessary to administer the contentious curriculum.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has been conducting countrywide reviews on CALA and the general consensus among stakeholders is that it must be scrapped.

ARTUZ spokesperson Thembakuye Moyo said rural students remained unfairly disadvantaged by CALA as many of them do not have the requisite learning aids.

“Since their introduction in schools, CALAs have proven to be costly and time-consuming thereby negatively affecting learners’ progress,” Moyo said.

“Most CALAs require the use of the internet for research which then imposes costs of mobile data, laptops, and mobile devices, etc on top of the regularly hiking fees.

“In a country where the majority of the citizens are living in poverty, they widen the learning inequality gap as those from privileged backgrounds will be the only ones that can afford to learn.”

Moyo said CALA must be reviewed to accommodate all learners.

“Paying particular attention to the rural learner, the majority of schools have inadequate digital learning facilities to enable students to carry out their CALA.

“It is the Union’s position that CALAs should be reformed in order to ensure effective learning in schools.”

Students in rural areas face an array of learning constraints which include long distances to access schools, shortage of qualified teachers who shun rural areas as well as lack of resources such as libraries.

The government has over the years formulated policies to address institutional challenges faced by rural students.

However, stakeholders say there is a need to explore the effectiveness of such strategies. — ZimLive

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