“All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”
In the 21st century, the pure academic type of education that students are introduced to, is steadily paving way to a whole new type of education with a special focus to incorporate three major genres of education: reasoning, psychomotor and emotional learning.
Education is a pretty broad concept that surpasses the four walls of a classroom. The core aim of education is to foster all round development of a child. All round development essentially means intellectual, physical, moral, sensible and social development. All round development can be achieved only through education. Education plays a fundamental role in the making of a man and his development as a culturally well developed social animal. To fulfil these objectives, there is a prime need of striking a balance between syllabus, curriculum, books and also co-curricular activities beyond that.
Co-Curricular activities are those which are undertaken side by side with the curricular activities. A co-curricular activity essentially takes place outside a typical pen and pencil classroom experience. It gives the students an opportunity to develop particular skills and exhibit their non-academic abilities. These activities might be compulsory, such as music, art or drama classes that take place during the day. Others generally are voluntary, such as participating in school sports team, school debating team or student newsletters. In either case, participation can assist students in more than one ways.
They actually complement the curricular activities and groom the students in the “Art of living and working together.” They are the true and practical experiences gained by students by their own learnings.
A Chinese proverb very aptly states, “Teach me, and I will forget. Show me, and I might remember. Involve me, and I will never forget.” To a very great extent, the theoretical knowledge is enhanced when a co-curricular activity related to the content taught, is organized. Intellectual development of the personality is achieved to a great extent, in the classroom itself. But, the aesthetic development like character building, spiritual and moral values, physical growth, creativity and many more are backed up by co-curricular activities only. It also professes coordination, adjustment, and speech fluency, extempore and debating skills amongst students. It teaches the students to stand up for their rights. Co-curricular activities render a number of values like:
- Educational value
- Psychological Values
- Development of Social Values
- Development of Civic Values
- Physical Development Values
- Recreational Values
- Cultural Values
Co-curricular activities are vital because even though they are not a part of the core curriculum, they play a very crucial role in giving the young boys and girls the ability to mould their lives to become well rounded people. The school activities have to be designed purposefully to give an apt mix of student’s participation in academics and also create a chance for all round development.
Role of Co-Curricular activities in a student’s life cannot be put into words easily. But let us understand some of the major benefits.
It helps to enhance the all-round personality of the students to strongly face the turbulent road of the future. Experiences and appreciation gained through these activities assist students during internships and other sponsored programs.
- Strengthened Self Confidence:
The goal of co-curricular activities is to give better fitness to students and inculcate a sense of sportsmanship, competitive spirit, leadership, meticulousness, cooperation, team spirit and team spirit. The hidden motive behind all this is to develop self-confidence and to learn to trust the team.
- Developed Specialised Skills:
Co-curricular activities help hone the talents of the young minds and gives them an opportunity to develop their specialised skills. Competitions that are organized can create a competitive environment and helps them work towards the objective of achieving a better society.
- Improved Academic Performance:
Studies have shown that students pursuing their hobbies achieved better results in their studies. Their academic performance goes way up north as they learn to balance their co-curricular activities with their academic pursuits. They also better understand on how to manage their time efficiently and also increases their interest in the school. Such activities like participation in debates, drama, music, sports, etc. help in achieving the bigger purpose of achieving better education.
In this competitive era, percentages act as game changers during admissions into various courses. Students pursuing any co-curricular activities of their choice are given preference over those who are not involved in any such things. These things make a major difference when students are considered for the most popular courses.
When students in their early teens are given some responsibility or a task to handle like first aid or for that matter managing the class painting board, their efficiency to handle such situations becomes much better. This fosters the sense of responsibility and accountability.
- Exposure to New Activities:
Students are introduced to a whole new horizon of activities that gives them a better insight and lets them choose what they enjoy and what they wish to learn. It broadens new horizons for them. These activities stimulate playing, painting, acting, dancing, singing and speaking skills in students.
There is a huge plethora of options that a student can choose from. Take a little glance at some options that one can choose from.
The rewards of co-curricular activities in schools have been researched pretty well and it is now ascertain that students who participate in these activities show higher academic results, stronger relationships in schools and are more likely to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Students also feel a sense of belonging to the school and have higher self-esteem by participating in structured activities like music, dance, performing arts, etc. In addition to this, students are motivated and it leads to a happier, healthier and a more cohesive school.
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Co-curricular activities (CCAs), previously known as Extracurricular Activities (ECA) are non-academic activities that all students, regardless of nationality, must participate in. This policy was introduced by the Ministry of Education, as a means to enhance social interaction, leadership, healthy recreation, self-discipline and self-confidence.
Through CCAs, students in their early teens are often given actual public 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 organisational skills, providing training to prepare students for the outside world.
However, CCA records are rarely considered by potential employers.
Structure of the CCA Programme
CCA choices vary widely from school to school, although schools at each education level are required to conform to national standards prescribed for that level.
In primary schools, CCAs are often introduced to students at Primary Three. Not all primary schools make CCA participation compulsory. In primary schools, Brownies are likened to junior Girl Guides.
In secondary schools, CCAs are treated more seriously. Students are required to pick at least one Core CCA to join at Secondary One. 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 post-secondary educational institutions. For example, one minimum prerequisite for admission Raffles Institution at Year Five, via the 'O' Levels, is an already perfect score with the maximum of 4 points removed.
Structure of Typical CCAs
CCAs are held outside of 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.
CCA groups typically feature an Executive Committee. In musical groups and CCAs catering to specific interests, the Executive Committee typically consists of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, among other positions.
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.
Many CCA-related competitions are held in Singapore, creating a competitive environment which provide CCA groups an objective to work towards.
The Ministry of Education organises competitions for competitive sports at the zonal and national level, respectively the yearly Zonal and National Schools Competitions. MOE also organises the biennial Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) for the Aesthetics CCAs.
Inexhaustive list of CCAs
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
- Prefectorial Board
- Students' Council
- The Peer Support Board
- The Junior and Senior Leaders Board
- The Civics Tutorial Council / Monitor / Class Leaders' Council
- The House Committee
- Technology Student Association (TSA)
- National Education Ambassadors
- Key Club
- Student Congress
- Environment Councillors
Sports and games
Main article: List of uniformed groups in Singapore schools
Note that Band may either count as a uniformed group or a performing arts group.
Clubs and societies
- Advanced Mathematics Club
- AVA Club (Audio and Visual Aid)
- Art Club
- Astronomy Club
- Cabin Club (with Singapore Children's Society)
- Comics Club
- Chess Club
- Chinese Cultural Club
- Chinese Calligraphy Club
- Computer Club
- Culinary Club (One school only)
- Debate Club
- Drama Club
- Entrepreneurship Club
- Environment Club
- First Aid Club
- Future Problem Solving Programme
- Game Designing Club
- Gardening Club
- Green Club
- Guitar Club
- Infocomm Club
- Interact Club
- Innovation Programme
- Indian Cultural Society
- Inventions Club
- Research Programme
- Language Club
- Library Club
- Mathematics Club
- Media Club
- Mind Sports Club
- Multimedia Club
- Philatelic Club
- Philosophy Club
- Photography Club
- Photoshop Club
- Robotics Club
- Science Club
- Singapore Youth Flying Club (SYFC)
- Scrabble Society
- Tactics Club
- Tamil Literary, Drama and Debate Society (TLDDS)
- Video Animation Club
- World Scholar's Cup (WSC)
In some schools, instead of separate clubs for Language, Debate and Drama (and even Culture), these domains are grouped under the heading of Language Debate and Drama Societies, an example of which is the English Literary Drama and Debate Society (ELDDS).