O-Level pupils to go on internship

Bulawayo Bureau

\n

THE Primary and Secondary Education Ministry has a draft curriculum framework which proposes that pupils go on industrial attachment after completing their Ordinary Level examinations and while awaiting their results.

\n

Also proposed in the draft framework is continuous assessment of learners and coursework grading, as opposed to the present examination-based grading system.

\n

This follows countrywide consultations under the ministry’s curriculum review programme, which started in October 2014.

\n

The draft framework will guide learning and teaching from 2015 through to 2022 in line with recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Education and Training (CIET) of 1999, headed by Professor Caiphas Nziramasanga.

\n

In an interview last week, Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said the curriculum review sought to enshrine a philosophy-underpinned education emphasising value systems such as ubuntu/hunhu and national heritage.

\n

She said the Lifelong Orientation Programme proposed in the framework would see O-level students being attached to institutions after completing their examinations to help them develop life skills and to engender a culture of productivity.

\n

“After writing examinations, students will be required to be attached to institutions in their communities where they will be providing services. We are looking at charitable organisations like Jairos Jiri and so on. The student will be required to undertake a project at the institution where they will be attached.

\n

“Upon completing the project, their supervisor will write a report on the student’s performance. This will help students in developing life skills, leadership skills and being team players. Such programmes will also help to identify students’ abilities outside the classroom or learning environment.

\n

“Some former Group A and private schools are doing this, of course, at a smaller scale and we would want to launch it at a much bigger scale. European countries have such programmes in their schools and they are quite useful in developing learners.”

\n

The curriculum review framework places emphasis on continuous assessment at all levels, and 50 percent of grades in junior school will be determined via this route and the other 50 percent on Grade Seven national examinations.

\n

O-Level grades will be based thus: 40 percent theoretical exams, 30 percent practical exams and 30 percent continuous assessment.

\n

Dr Utete-Masango said the proposed changes to the grading system would help identify pupils’ strengths so as to nurture them early in life to realise their full potential.

\n

“We have summative examinations determining the student’s grades. Continuous assessment allows for teachers at the Early Childhood Development stage to detect the learner’s abilities at the formative stage and profile them.

\n

“When the learner moves to junior school, they go with their profile and the next teacher will further develop the abilities and it goes on and on right through the system. For example, if a learner has a bias towards Art, teachers will have to make sure that the learner is nurtured in that area.

\n

“The ability of the learner should be captured in a more objective manner so that the final result is a true reflection of the learner.”

\n

She said the ministry would engage specialists to standardise continuous assessment, and that teachers would undergo training on the new system.

\n

The curriculum review framework also emphasises strengthening Mathematics, Science, Technology, vocational studies, and Humanities and Heritage studies – areas that would be made compulsory at all levels.

\n

Mathematics and Science will become prerequisites for primary and secondary school teacher training programmes.

\n

Dr Utete-Masango said her ministry had carried out a validation process of the curriculum framework a fortnight ago during which stakeholders checked the document against their contributions.

\n

The proposals will be presented to Cabinet for approval.

\n

“What is left now is for us to come up with prototype syllabi that will accompany the draft curriculum framework when we submit it to Cabinet. This will guide Cabinet on what exactly we are proposing.

\n

“Once that is done and Cabinet approves, then we will move to develop the actual syllabi. We are almost ready and hopefully the draft will be approved by Cabinet before June this year.”