The Zimbabwean government in their usual stubbornness decided to force all students who are in completing classes this year to do continuous assessment learning activities (CALAs). This has seen students scrambling to complete these activities before the deadlines come into effect. Since this is all new, a lot of students didn’t even know how to complete their activities so they ended up paying academic mercenaries. Some are now going a step further and bribing their teachers.

CALAs constitute a whole 30% of the final grade you will get so students are not taking any chances. A lot of students are paying as much as US$100 to academic mercenaries so they can do the projects on their behalf. Some people have actually made lots of money by claiming to be CALA specialists according to the Progressive Teacher’s Union:

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

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.

Takavafira Zhou of PTUZ

It seems underpaid teachers have joined the CALA specialist bandwagon and are now charging between US$10 and US$20 per subject to do the CALA projects on behalf of their students. A lot of students are more than happy to pay these prices in return for a guaranteed pass. This means they will only need to strive to get at least 20% in their final exams in order for them to pass said subject.

This sort of contradicts what the authorities have been saying when they claim CALAs will improve the learning skills of students. There is no easy way for the overstretched relevant departments to make sure the exercise is being manipulated like this. Various teacher’s unions have tried to have the CALAs scrapped to no avail.

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