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It has been argued that extracurricular activities are not very important in a

schoolchild’s life. I, however, differ with that. A student’s social life is as


important as their academic life, for their development.
There is so much pressure on students, especially in secondary schools, to
perform well in their exams and attain high grades. This, by all means, is not
wrong – wanting students to perform exemplarily well in their exams is normal.
The problem comes in when students have no life outside their classrooms; when
all they do and think about is their books. They become zombies whose world
revolves around books, with no room for their development as human beings.
Many parents, guardians, and students themselves do not understand the
importance of extracurricular activities. Teachers in many schools have had to
convince some parents and guardians to permit their children to participate in
extracurricular activities. This is because the parents feel that those afterschool
activities distract them from their studies, or caused them to get home late. Some
students also feel that they do not need the activities, all they need is to concentrate
on their books.
This notion couldn’t be any more untrue. Co-curricular activities are just as
important as academics. They both complement each other to develop a well-
rounded student with more social skills than one who only concentrates on their
books. Education should go beyond the four classroom walls; it should be more
than just books.
There are so many activities that a student can choose from, including sports
such as athletics, football, and rugby, scouts, debate, chess or even music. Some
students who are interested in more than one activity end up participating in them,
as long as they have enough time left for their studies.

BENEFITS OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES


· IMPROVED ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Studies have shown that students who participate in co-curricular activities have a
marked improvement in the grades. This can be attributed to skills they learn such
as better time management to accommodate their hobbies and class activities,
better organizational skills and a boost in their self-esteem. Skills learnt in clubs
such as debate can be applied in the classroom too, as the students learn how to
express themselves better.
· BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
A student has to learn how to balance their academic life with their hobbies. They
need to know how to incorporate their club and sports activities into their school
life and allocate enough time for each. They learn how to plan out their day to
include study time and co-curricular activities time, and will know how to make
use of any free time they may have. Such a student is also less likely to
procrastinate.
· LEARN NEW AND USEFUL SKILLS
Students learn new skills that are useful in their school life and day-to-day
activities. Students learn skills such as teamwork, better social skills, and critical
thinking. According to studies, students who participate in co-curricular activities
were found to have better leadership skills and learnt how to relate better with their
peers than those who didn’t.
· SENSE OF COMMITMENT
Students who participate in co-curricular activities have a sense of commitment to
whatever they are involved in. This is because as they take part in whatever sports
or club activity they are a member of, they have to commit to it and give their all,
and this commitment extends to all other areas of their lives.
· SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY
A student who is given a task such as leading a scouts group, or First Aid, will with
time be very efficient in that task. This will foster a sense of accountability and
responsibility in them.
· NEW FRIENDS
Students should be encouraged to pursue extracurricular activities as they meet and
spend time with new people, hence forming new friendships. This is important as
they interact with those of different or similar interests, and learn a thing or two
from them. They also get a different point of view on things as the new friends
they make may see life in general from a different point of view.
· INTRODUCTION TO NEW ACTIVITIES
Students who engage in extracurricular activities are exposed to a wide range of
new activities such as sports, painting, drama, scouts and singing. Though these
activities may be hobbies, some students take them up and pursue them in their
adult lives, turning their hobby into their career.
· MORE OPPORTUNITIES
For secondary school students, engaging in extracurricular activities boosts their
chances of gaining admission into universities. Most universities nowadays check
what the student offers apart from their academics, and that is where co-curricular
activities come in. Some students have gotten scholarships into prestigious
universities due to sports such as athletics and football.
The aim of education should be to develop an all-rounded student in all aspects.
This includes the student’s intellectual, spiritual, social, physical and moral
capabilities. There is need to strike a balance in all these aspects, so as to benefit
the child.
, inclusiv sport, cum ar fi atletism, fotbal, rugby,
dezbateri, șah sau chiar muzică.
When a seed is sown, it needs a perfect balance of water, temperature and good
soil to germinate. Once the roots take hold, a sapling begins to emerge and
eventually break through the soil making a mark in the outer world.

Likewise, when a child grows, he/she needs right conditions for growth along with
development. Growth being a biological process is taken care of with proper food
and nutrition, but what about the development of child? Food and nutrition only
helps for physical growth, but overall development takes a lot more.
What is overall development?

Leading agencies like WHO broadly define four dimensions for children
development (and to have healthy happy clapping kids #happyclappingkids):

1. Physical development: Healthy body has healthy mind and is the foundation
for development of children. Balanced nutrition takes cares of this requirement
along with activities which involves physical activities like sports.

2. Cognitive development: This covers the broad term “intelligence” which is


ability to think, create, evolve basis learning and use the learning to solve
problems.

3. Social development: Verbal and non-verbal communication with language


skills, ability to express and feel comfortable in socially, ability to handle difficult
adverse social settings

4. Emotional development: Confidence, self-esteem, maturity, self regulation,


moral values, resilience, empathy etc.

Our traditional education model starts with schools where kids are trained in
friendly environment along these dimensions. It is the schooling which decides the
future personality of a child. School focus primarily on academics and the focus on
other developmental needs are at best secondary.

A case study revealed that within an hour (60 minutes) of teacher student
interaction, 40-45 minutes are spent on academics curriculum even for primary
grade student.There is quite limited focus on the extra curricular activities. We did
a quick check on a grade 4 student in Jaipur. She had 8 hours of extra curricular
activities like drawing, sports, yoga, book reading etc. in a whole week of 35
hours.

On the contrary, in Finland, as part of the integrated school day programme kids
spent 40-50% of their time on non-academic activities.

An argument that is often stated is that students need to be trained to work and earn
a living. Academic training provides the same and hence the high focus by schools
on this.

However, time and time again employers tell us that a degree alone is not
indicative of a well-rounded graduate. They need the candidates to be not only
know a particular academic subject but also have very essential skills like
communication, group working, leadership etc.

If we do not see this writing on the wall, the repercussions will be dreadful.
Maybe Mark Twain rightly said – “I have never let my schooling interfere with my
education.”

In a nutshell, the need of the hour is to impart such an education that not only
focuses on academics, but also lets children discover and develop areas which may
be suppressed somewhere under the heavy school bag.

In the long run, who knows what a seed can grow into on a fertile land!

We at HapClap are taking a small step to help in this mission.