Co-curricular Activities - Importance and Scope

Co-curricular activities are those activities which fall outside the regular academic curriculum. They are also known as 'Extra-curricular' activities. Extra-curricular activities exist at all levels of education from pre-elementary to university stage of education. These activities are compulsory in some institutions while in others these are taken as voluntary. These are held outside standard curriculum hours and the activities partaken depend on the nature of the institution. Today these activities have become more profound than ever before. 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 three or four houses. Each house has a house Master & staff of the school to guide the students for various internal competitions.

Examples of co-curricular activity conducted in senior secondary school are:

Debate and discussion

School magazine

Dramatics

Study circle

Clubs

Societies

Art groups

Seminar

Kavi Summelan

Library work

 Sports and Games

Indoor and outdoor athletics

Mass drill

Parade

Scouting

Music

Dancing

Drawing

Painting

Sculpture

Dramatics

Exhibition

Fancy dress

Folk Dance

Folk Songs

Cooperative Bank

Cooperative Store

Assembly

Students’ Council

Fancy dress

Folk Dance

Folk Songs

Cooperative Bank

Cooperative Store

Assembly

Students’ Council

Celebration of Religious

National and Social Festivals

Organizing of School Panchayat Mock Parliament.

Social Study Circle

Fair

Professions

Cultural Programmes

Guiding

First Aid

Red Cross

Social Survey

Stamp Collection

Coin Collection

Collection of Copies

Photography

Reading

Needlework

Knitting

Picnic

Visit to Museum, Zoo etc.

Importance and Scope of Co-Curricular Activities

Looking at the list of various types of activities, the question will arise in our mind that 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 and educational value of these activities

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. Their psychological importance are highlighted as under

a) 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) Development of Emotional 'Health: A student has 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) Recognition of Individual Differences: 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, drama 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 citizens. Co curricular activities offer many opportunities for the development of self-discipline e.g. NCC and NSS. They develop in students a spirit of toleration of others' views, healthy exchange of ideas, fellow feeling and accepting victory and defeat with grace. 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.

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. watching Movies, and serials on 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 human beings of the same universe. Thus, co-curricular activities will help in developing national and international understanding.

It is safe to conclude 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, and develop social and civic sense. Without these activities students would be mere book-worms.

Written by Mohammad SHAFI MIR (Lecturer Education)