Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Importance and Scope of Co-Curricular Activities

Importance of Co-Curricular Activities
Looking at the list of various types of activities, the question will arise in your mind is how do these activities help us in achieving the objectives of education. Also what is the need and importance of these activities? Let us first discuss the advantages. Curricular activities have a number of values like;

1.    Educational value,
2.    Psychological Values,
3.    Development of Social Values,
4.    Development of Civic Values,
5.    Physical Development Values,
6.    Recreational Values,
7.    Cultural Values,

Let us discuss them one by one.

1. Educational Value
These activities have great "educational" potential. All classroom teaching is theoretical.
Practical knowledge can be imparted through co-curricular activities.
Excursions and tours provide firsthand experience and reinforce classroom knowledge in subjects like history, geography, nature study etc.
Language and expression improves through debates and recitations. . Teaching of History gets vitalized by dramatization.
Practical lessons in civics can be given through student self-government.
School magazines teach students the art of writing forcefully and effectively.
Celebration of functions develops organizational capacities and leadership qualities in students.
Projects provide direct learning opportunities.

2. Psychological Value
These activities as the name suggests meet the psychological needs of the students, mainly with reference to social demands of the pupils. They help in expressing personal behavior and provide a vehicle for creative thinking.

a) These Activities act as Agent for Sublimation of the Instincts
Co-curricular activities are a means of channelizing students' instincts into healthy and fruitful channels e.g. instinct of curiosity can be fruitfully channelized by library, stamp and coin collection etc. The instinct of gregariousness can be directed through self-government, social service and other group work.

b) Emotional 'Health
A student is a bundle of innate urges or drives. It is natural for him/her to be curious, to show off, to master, to be loyal and to be sympathetic. Co-curricular activities provide valuable opportunities in which these drives may be capitalized for educational benefit.
But fortunately or unfortunately, they may not come up to the required expectation e.g. some students who are backward in studies develop inferiority complex and find school life disgusting and can get emotionally unbalanced. Such activities provide a means of emotional adjustment for students.

C) To’ Increase the Interest of Students
A student who gives his time and effort to his school is, therefore, more interested in it, because of his contributions e.g. the athlete talks about school spirit.

d) Recognition of Individual Differences Co-curricular Activities
By providing a number of co-curricular activities, we can ensure the expression of potential capacities of each individual e.g. writing, public speaking, dramatics, painting, different games and sports, organization of functions etc. which provide training in different aspects of personality of students. These activities, thus, cater to aptitude, interests and abilities of students and sometimes act as a determining factor for the choice of future vocation.

3. Development of Social Value
Social cooperation is recognized as one of the important demands of citizenship. It is difficult to teach through school subjects like Languages, Mathematics or Social Sciences. By 'participating in group activities, students learn good manners and develop a sense of cooperation. Membership in a club, student council, dramatic cast or an athletic team requires co-operation. Students learn to appreciate the relationship of an individual to the social group.
Through team activities, students learn social cooperation. They develop group spirit, 'we' - feeling, belongingness, unity and ability to be co-operative.

4. Development of Civic Value
In group activities students learn the value of doing one's duty. For example, students' self-government in schools provides an excellent training in exercising one's franchise and shouldering responsibilities. These activities train the students for good citizenship. Co curricular activities offer many opportunities for the development of self-discipline e.g. NCC and ACC. They develop in students a spirit of toleration of others' views, healthy exchange of ideas, fellow feeling and accepting victory and defeat with grace.
Secondly, the school is a miniature society and the activities of the school should have direct relations with the activities of the society.
Qualities like initiative and leadership are not always developed in a classroom. On the playground, students get opportunities to develop leadership qualities like initiative, decision-making, judgment, tolerance etc. These qualities are required for a democratic society. Many girls and boys have little practice in controlling themselves and in directing their own affairs.
They have not developed the ability to do these things. As a result, when they are placed in settings that demand self-direction, they are lost. Co-curricular activities provide numerous situations in which students may gradually get increasing responsibilities for their own direction.
The settings for developing these carry-over values must be definitely provided. A school must be a workshop in democracy.
The traits and qualities of leadership are developed in students, when they organize these activities by themselves under the guidance of teachers. Students learn to plan, organize and
I execute the plan that has been developed. This develops in them initiative, planning, thinking and power of independent judgment.
These activities provide excellent moral training. Through these activities are learnt the importance of obeying the law, rules and regulations, love for truth and above all, these activities develop moral consciousness by providing moral experiences. For example, a boy in charge of finances has to act honestly. On the play field, one has to show sportsman spirit.

5. Physical Development Value
While games, sports and athletics directly contribute to physical development of students, other co-curricular activities also indirectly contribute to it. These activities provide a useful channel for the growth and development of the body.

6. Recreational Value
Lack of ability and training in proper utilization of one's leisure time is one of the major defects in our present system of education. By providing and organizing various activities, we provide wholesome opportunities to our students, rather than to spend their spare time in undesirable activities e.g. Movies, TV, idle talk etc. Hobbies developed at the secondary school stage become lifelong habits.

7. Cultural Virtue
Some co*curricular activities are of tremendous value, as they help in providing opportunities for better understanding of our cultural heritage and traditions, for example, activities like dramatics, folk songs, dance, folk music, exhibitions and celebration of various religious and social festivals provide better knowledge and understanding of our culture, foster cultural tastes and awaken cultural interests among students. Student would appreciate to learn all these though our language, religion, culture, food habits, dress etc. are different but we are one, and that we are leman beings of the same universe.
Thus, co-curricular activities will help in developing national and international understanding.
We can concede by saying that co-curricular activities cater to the development of a child's entire personality, draw out the latent powers of children of different temperaments, supplement academic work, develop social and civic sense. Without these activities students would be mere book-worms.
These activities are really important as they have a potential of developing the intellect of a student which is always not possible with theoretic procedures. For this co-curricular activities need to be effective so that they can give the right exposure to the mind. When effective these activities provide a practical hands-on approach to the students which provide similar experiences which they will face in the outside world. Such experiences go a long way in producing multi-faceted personalities which, in due course of time may bring honor to the country as well. Students have a right to a broad education. A wide range of experiences prepare students better for the future, especially in today’s uncertain world. Broad education can provide better preparation for life in a society where an individual may need to change career several times in their life. Student minds aren't mature enough to ascertain what's good and what's bad for them? Their decisions may be influenced by peer pressure etc. but at the same time these activities should not be forced. Co-curricular activities need to be more refined, varied and interesting so as to be widely accepted and successful. A successful co-curriculum builds links between the school and the wider community, bringing local enthusiasts in to work with students, and sending students out to work on community projects. Many children have talents in all sorts of different areas, and it is wrong to force them to specialize too early. A career is not the only part of an adult’s life – school needs to make sure they have interests and skills that will help them in their family and leisure lives too. Through equal balancing of academic and co-curriculum, the students have the chance to exercise their rights and the opportunity to be multi-talented.
Role of Co-Curricular Activities in a Student's Life
  • It helps to develop the all-round personality of the students to face the undaunted task and turbulent world of future. Experience and accolades gained through many of these activities help during internships and other school sponsored work programs.
  • The aim of curricular activities is to make the students fit for the future time and to develop a sense of competitive spirit, co-operation, leadership, diligence, punctuality, and team-spirit as well as to provide a backdrop for the development of their creative talents. Whenever someone is chosen as a head boy or is given leadership in certain matters, it boosts self-confidence and sense of achievement.
  • Extra activities for school students are a means to enhance social interaction, leadership, healthy recreation, self-discipline and self-confidence. Competitions may also be organized to create a competitive environment and groups with an objective to work towards a better society and the world as well.
  • In today's competitive world, percentage makes a lot of difference during admission into various courses. Such students are given preference as compared to non participants. These may make a difference when the students are considered for the most popular courses.
  • When the students in their early teens are given some responsibilities like giving first aid they acquire a sense of responsibility.
  • Some tasks require precision, management and organizational and such activities provide training to prepare students for the outside world.
  • In polytechnics and universities, certificates of such activities are given weight age by potential employers.
  • Students in the form of Alumni etc., act as counselors or guides in their respective institutions in such matters. They impart what they have learned to their juniors. Whilst doing so they are imparting knowledge and helping in the development of  a productive society.
  • Such activities divert student's attention from harmful activities like drugs, crime etc. It channelizes their energies in fruitful activities.
  • Physical activities like running, football etc. help not only in the physical fitness they also refresh the burdened mind.
  • Success in organizations requires more than high intellect. Thus, college recruiters commonly examine job candidates' extracurricular activities in search of well-rounded, emotionally intelligent, and interpersonally skilled students. Intuitively, extracurricular activities are like valuable student experiences.
Scope of CCAs
·         The scope of CCAs is wide due to a nearly inexhaustible list of interests. Some of the major groups include Computer Club, Art Club, Dance Club, Swimming, Basketball and Photography Club. Uniformed groups include the St. John Ambulance Brigade (SJAB), Red Cross, Military Band, The Singapore Scout Association, Girl Guides Singapore, National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) and National Cadet Corps (NCC). Performing arts groups are also included, with Chinese Orchestra, choirs, bands and Dance Clubs among such CCAs.
·         CCAs are held outside standard curriculum hours and the activities partaken depend on the nature of CCA. For example, uniformed groups do foot drills and team-building exercises while competitive sportsmen spend most of the time training and learning techniques from their instructors.
·         In the first year, the students are required to pick one or more interest group to join. While the choices available to students differ from school to school, there are national requirements for the different levels of education.
·         In some primary schools, students may choose not to join a CCA. In primary school, Brownies are likened to junior Girl Guides.
·         There is a wide choice of CCAs in schools, for which students can sign up based on their interest and ability.
·         In secondary schools, CCAs are treated more seriously. Belonging to a Core CCA is compulsory, and the students may choose a second CCA if they wish. At the end of the fourth/fifth year, 1 to 2 'O' Level points are removed from the examination aggregate (a lower aggregate indicates better marks). Although the marks are few, it is believed by many that they may make a difference when the students are considered for the most popular tertiary school courses. For example, to enter RIJC via the 'O' Levels requires a perfect score as well as removal of points. In addition, as the students are in their early teens, they are given some responsibilities. Red Cross and SJAB members, for example, are often required to render first aid at public events. Most uniformed groups require precision, management and organizational skills, providing training to prepare students for the outside world. In polytechnics and universities (tertiary education institutes), CCA records are considered by potential employers.
·         CCA groups are mostly groups catering to specific interests. Such groups would elect from among themselves a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, among other positions. The National Police Cadet Corps has started a few Open Units in the tertiary institutions, recruiting members to serve as student leaders in the secondary school units.
·         Many former students return to their alma mater after graduation to help impart what they have learned to their juniors. Some do so within a formal framework, such as those in the uniformed groups (where ex-cadets are appointed as cadet officers), or the Voluntary Adult Leader scheme (for those above age 20). Others do so on a casual basis.
·         Competitions may also be organized to create a competitive environment and provide such CCA groups with an objective to work towards. In Singapore, there are competitions at the zonal and national level. These include the Annual Zonal and National Sporting Competitions for sportsmen and the bi-annual Singapore Youth Festival for the Aesthetics-related CCAs.
·         Co-curricular activities are those activities which fall outside the regular academic curriculum. They are also know as 'Extra-curricular' activities. Most of the educational organizations in various different parts of the world facilitate these activities for school and college students. Faculty is mostly involved in organizing and directing these activities in schools while it maybe independent from faculty in universities or colleges. Extracurricular activities exist at all levels of education, from 4th-6th, junior high/middle school, high school, college and university education. These activities are compulsory in some institutions while in others it's voluntary. Where these are compulsory all school students must participate them alongside the standard study curriculum. At higher levels of education student participation generally include academic points in lieu of the efforts put by a student in a particular activity. These are held outside standard curriculum hours and the activities partaken depend on the nature of the institute and occasion. Catholic convents schools have generally have Christmas celebration as a major part of the co-curricular activities due to catholic significance. While some schools are more inclined towards annual function. Some give significance to both. Today these activities have become more profound than ever before. Most of the institutes highlight them as a crucial advertising factor in their prospectus or advertisements in order to attract parent-students attention. Though not all of these activities may pursued with great enthusiasm these are however popular and leave a life long lasting experience for most. These activities are not examined in the same way that the academic curriculum is, and because most of them take place outside lessons, such activities have less status in education than the main curriculum. However, they are often held to be very important to the wider education of young men and women. Co-curricular activities form the core of students' life. Many schools and colleges have different units like clubs or houses in which  all the students have been divided into four houses. Each house has a house Master & staff of the school  to guide the students for various internal competitions


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