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Education Today

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

By Vandana Arora, Principal,
Nahar International School

Education has long been about training the intellect to achieve academic excellence. Schools have persistently focused on their students attaining a certain set of marks that will pave the way for ‘successful’ futures.

However, schools and educationists should realise that we are preparing our students for a world whose challenges we are unaware of. The professional world has becoming increasingly demanding in the number and variety of skill sets it requires. The best universities in the world expect students to be leaders in their field of study, and in their approach to community and society, having the skills required to make a difference.

Education today, should hence, expose our students to the real world, a world beyond classrooms, books and school. The core aim of education should be to foster all round development of a child - striking an ideal balance between the intellectual, physical and emotional development of the child.

The rewards of co-curricular activities in schools have been researched extensively and it is now certain that students who participate in these activities show higher academic results, stronger relationships amongst themselves 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 life.

It is evident that students who participate in sports activities are able to collaborate and handle teamwork better. The physical exertion involved in sports also ensures the physical fitness and overall health and physical strength of the students. Drama becomes the arena to learn empathy and build trust within the group. Debates and elocutions allow students to overcome stage fright and gain confidence in their public speaking abilities, while clearly improving their language skills too. Indulging and exercising one’s musical or artistic talents helps to foster one’s creativity and encourages self-expression, in turn bolstering a student’s confidence in themselves.

To a very large extent, theoretical knowledge is enhanced when accompanied by co-curricular activities related to it. Intellectual development of the personality is achieved to a great extent, in the classroom itself. But students have always learned by doing and not just by listening and seeing. Hence, the teaching that is imparted to students should be active, relatable and relevant to the world they live in. Study then becomes part of life. It ceases to be boring or disconnected and begins to take on real-life implications.

It is important then to consider how seamlessly co-curricular activities must be integrated into the curriculum, in the life of the school, even into classroom teaching. They should no longer be considered co-curricular but curricular, part of the actual teaching that is carried out in classes. The world we are preparing our students for demands that we begin to change our thinking and our approach.

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