Jean Piaget wrote: “The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive, and discover.” It is important to lay emphasis on activities that add value to learning. The academic pursuit of a student must involve a lot of educational as well as co-curricular activities. The traditional way of education is almost ‘out of fashion’ now. The course-book-savvy, scholastic geniuses are not necessarily the front pacers anymore. The concept of a perfect personality has a different understanding now, and is more related with showing a multifaceted overall personal growth.

Education cannot be limited to a fixed curriculum of learning Maths, Science and English only. The mastery of learning the facts and figures of life is not hidden in the conventional text-books. They have to be learnt through real-life situations. And these real-life situations are created through extra-curricular activities.

Extra-curricular activities encourage students to develop talents, interests, hobbies, and skills through participation in physical, academic, scientific and artistic pursuits. Extra-curricular activities round-out students’ education; they also complement and facilitate students’ academic studies. While providing ways to socialize, relax, have fun and be revitalized; extra-curricular activities keep students physically fit, increase their energy and stamina, develop their interests, and promote mental agility.

Extra-curricular/co-curricular activities can be a place where one can apply academic discipline, develop and test career goals, be of service to self and others, and, in short, make long strides in maturing into a healthy, well-rounded person. In addition, these activities are a great source of social contact and enjoyment.

Students must be given opportunities to explore new areas of interest, meet new friends from different institutions, and cooperate and compete with others. Participation in these activities helps students to accept responsibilities, and to manage their time wisely. Students who participate in these activities feel good about themselves and enjoy the many opportunities that are offered to them. An important goal is to involve all students in at least one of the many options that may be available.

Different sets of extra-curricular activities are required for the school students as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Depending on the school/ college, students participate in a wide range of activities including swimming, tennis, table-tennis, football, volleyball, gymnastics, folk-dancing, painting, music lessons, etc.

Through participation in these activities students learn as much about self-confidence and performing under pressure as they do about the joy of sharing artistic expression.

Extra-curricular activities play an important role in developing a positive approach towards life. They enhance the personality by reducing stress born manifestations. These extracurricular activities help in learning the act of developing inter-personal relations. They provide an exposure to the hidden qualities of a student, which might be lying under deep trenches of their personality.

Education is an ongoing process and is not meant simply to manufacture educational geniuses it is meant for an overall growth of the student into a perfect figure of mankind. The challenges of life cannot be met simply through the knowledge of books they are met with the help of skills like cooperation, discipline, team building, etc. These are the small droplets, which form the ocean of attributes necessary to meet the challenges of the corporate world. It has been very rightly said, “Many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond, many ponds make a lake, and many lakes make an ocean.”

If we do not rise to the challenge of our unique capacity to shape our lives, to seek the kinds of growth that we find individually fulfilling, then we can have no security: we will live in a world of sham, in which our selves are determined by the will of others.

[Arvind Passey]
Written for PT Education