Role of Co-Curricular Activities in a Students Life

Co-curricular Activities Definition: Activities which complement but are not part of the conventional academic curriculum. It means that Co-curricular activities are those activities which fall outside the regular academic curriculum yet they are a part of schooling or collegiate life. These are observed in tandem with an institute’s curriculum and have a yearly schedule. Most of the educational organisations in various different parts of the world facilitate these activities for school and college students. Faculty is mostly involved in organising and directing these activities in schools while it maybe independent from faculty in universities or colleges.

Co-curricular 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 convent 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.

Types of Co-Curricular Activities

  • Morning assembly programmes
  • Inter-House competitions
  • House meetings
  • English recitation
  • Hindi calligraphy
  • English calligraphy
  • On the spot drawing & painting competition   
  • Group singing
  • Hindi elocution
  • English elocution
  • Solo singing/rhymes
  • Quiz competitions
  • Moot courts
  • Rangoli competitions
  • Individual talent show
  • Guest talk / slide show
  • Fancy dress
  • Antakshyari
  • Various activity clubs
  • NCC - National Cadet Corps
  • School band
  • Scout association
  • Girl guides
  • Performing arts
  • School choirs
  • Foot drills
  • Annual functions
  • National sporting competitions
  • Youth festivals
  • NSS

Difference between Co-curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities

Co-curricular activities are also referred as 'Extra-curricular' activities. Grammatically speaking there is a difference between the two. Extra-curricular is self explanatory, i.e. Activity which is extra or additional to curricular but is more leisure oriented than learning oriented. Extra-curricular activities are mostly conducted after school hours. They generally don’t complement academic studies. However, some of the activities overlap each other; some extra-curricular activities can also be co-curricular and vice versa. Depending upon the institutes certain activities are considered co-curricular while for some it is extra-curricular. Therefore, in academic sphere, there isn’t any clear consensus as to which is what? Thus, the gap between the two is negligible in academic sense.

Why many Students, Parents and other Hate Co-Curricular Activities?

One of the major reasons that such activities are hated because in many institutes, these are compulsory. Students feel that should have right to choose whether they wish to pursue them, rather than forcing them to give equal importance to something they do not wish to do. They find handling both, academic and co-curricular activities very demanding and as such they lose interest in them.

Also making Co-curricular activity compulsory takes the fun out of it.  If some were forced to take part, they would be less enthusiastic and spoil the activity for the rest. To be successful, Co-curricular activities need to voluntary so that they can develop personal development benefits.

Many students, parents and others consider that the academic curriculum is much more important and should be given more status in schools and colleges than the co-curriculum. According to them, educational institutes are only meant to deliver education and awarding recognised qualifications. They also view higher education of a greater importance than the co-curricular when being selected by employers.

There is also a view based on logic that there is more need for super talented individuals and as such institutes should make specialised individuals in their selected fields. Most modern careers require expert knowledge and skills, which can take years to acquire. Co-curricular activities distract students from developing skills in whatever selected field they have chosen to specialise in. According to them, a doctor or an engineer is known for his or her worth in the job he / she performs rather than being an all rounder. Therefore they do not require such skills as part of their formal education.

Many co-curricular activities require great expenditure. These require more staff to organise and manage such events. This expenditure is added to the fees of the students which becomes an eyesore for those who are not wealthy enough to afford. High profile institutes deprive deserving students just because they are putting an indirect extra cost which sadly, discourages less wealthy families.

Some believe that co-curricular activities can be pursued even after completing academic education. There is no need to compromise academic education by over-emphasis on non-academic activities, when most professions still provide a range of career opportunities. For example, if someone is fond of cultural activities he can pursue these when he / she has achieved the preferred academic goal.

Often co-curricular activities offered by schools are duplicate to those, that are already available in the wider community. For example, a school cricket team may deprive the local town’s cricket club of young players, while school adventure activities might weaken NCC or NSS activities. So a strong co-curriculum may have the effect of killing off lots of worthwhile community-based activities because they do not receive school credit.

There is also a concern amongst some that co-curricular activities are already available in abundance outside the school curriculum in the form of clubs, teams, societies etc. So if these are available there is no need to spend money and time in pursuing these activities in educational institutes.

One can also switch career in accordance with his or her interest through evening classes and continuing education programmes which can retrain them.

Many activities are repetitive and are very common. They are observed as a casual affair or as a formality. Therefore these offer no excitement on the part of the students as they aren't interesting enough.

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, team-spirit as well as to provide a backdrop for the development of their creative talents. When ever some one is chosen as a head boy or is given leadership in certain matters, it boosts self-confidence and sense of achievement.
  • Additional activities for school students are a means to enhance social interaction, leadership, healthy recreation, self-discipline and self-confidence. Competitions may also be organised 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 weightage by potential employers.
  • Students in the form of Alumni etc., act as counsellors 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 channelises 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' Cocurricular activities in search of well-rounded, emotionally intelligent, and interpersonally skilled students. Intuitively, Cocurricular activities are like valuable student experiences.
Should They Really be Pursued?

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 personalties which, in due course of time may bring honour 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 specialise 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.

Articles on Education
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