Education is a process of enlightenment of an individual; enlightenment of not just the mind but also of the body. A very broad term, education can hardly be bracketed as merely the academic pursuits that one chases after during school or college years. Today education implies an all round development of an individual: physical, social as well psychological. And to ensure this, schools and colleges offer a range of extra-curricular activities to the students choose from and be engaged in.
Participation in extra-curricular activities should be encouraged from an early age onwards. Children should be allowed to explore their capabilities and identify their areas of interests. Often individuals find career paths within an area of interest or passion developed during childhood. Infact, engaging in activities beyond academic oriented interests can play an important role at several stages of development for an individual.
Many children shy away from being involved in class/school activities due to lack of confidence. And as young adults this shyness, later, manifests itself as a fear to take initiative. The root cause of it all is self doubt in one’s capabilities. Participation in extra-curricular activities is an important step towards self discovery and confidence. Knowledge of one’s abilities and strength can infuse children and young adults with confidence to approach unexplored avenues later in life.
Self awareness is a very rare virtue to come by. To understand one’s strengths and weaknesses, every individual needs to go through a process of self exploration. When children and adolescents participate in debates, sports, creative arts and other activities, they taste both failure and success. This helps them understand their capabilities and ways to hone their skills, but most importantly it teaches them to accept their weaknesses, which is the foremost step towards self awareness.
Sports are an important medium to teach children the value of team work. Team work requires several virtues like cooperation, patience, helpfulness and coordination. When children work in groups they are forced to deal with members with varying attitudes and temperament. This may lead to disagreements and disputes within the group. Under such circumstances children learn to listen to each other’s opinions, will develop the art of diplomacy and strive to unite each member for the common goal of the team.
Participation in activities is a platform to learn social skills. For example, Model United Nations, a very popular competition of international significance, is designed to make the participants take on the role of diplomats representing a particular country in a mock United Nations Forum. Participants not only gain knowledge about the culture and politics of different countries but they are also trained to behave like dignitaries. Interaction with other participants during such competitions helps one to learn skills impertinent for presenting oneself in a positive light and creating lasting impressions on others.
Touted to be the biggest cultural event of Asia, Kerala Kalolsavam (School arts festival of Kerala) is a wonderful opportunity for students of Secondary and Higher Secondary classes to showcase their talent. Sponsored by the Kerala state government, Kalolsavam witnesses more than 10,000 participants every year. Every state of our country should adopt this model of state competition to develop art forms as well encourage the youth to explore diverse interests.
Co-curricular activities are important for the overall development of every child. Schools and colleges should present their students with ample opportunities for being proactive and organising events. Participation in extra-curricular activities not only builds character and personality, it also grooms the child for life.