The first question that came to my mindwas ‘What role does extra-curricular vis a vis academic play spanning the majorpart of our adult life’? While...
The first question that came to my mind
was ‘What role does extra-curricular vis a vis academic play spanning the major
part of our adult life’? While some of us are still pondering over it, the
others may already know that as Aristotle said ‘The quality of life is
determined by its activities’ because as we all know learning is ubiquitous and
we all are constantly learning. Learning is not limited to the classroom or
So the extra in the extra-curricular isn't the extra as we understand the word
in the present context, additional but the prefix extra in curricular means
beyond and outside the curricular or the course of study.
Juxtapose it to the co-curricular activities wherein the prefix ‘co’ means that
which supplements and complements learning within the curriculum. Let me
exemplify the difference between the two, a role play on an act from any of the
plays in school from Shakespeare which is a part of the curriculum in CBSE or
ICSE board, will be seen as the co-curricular while if a child attends a live
performance at the theater of the play of Shakespeare, then that would be the
The components of the extra-curricular activities are multifaceted ranging from
participation in the performing arts like dance, music, drama to adventure
sports activities like bungee jumping, paragliding, zip line to name a few and sports activities like cricket,
taekwondo, gymnastics and last but not the least volunteering for community
service by visiting and assisting at the old age homes, orphanage.
These components of extra-curricular
are crucial in this 21st century for the 21st century learners to imbibe and
learn the most important skill sets imperative for the 21st century
and that is the Life Skills. Life
skills as we know are the most comprehensive attributes that help an individual
to adapt and deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. Life
skills like problem solving, decision making, team work and collaborative work,
empathy etc. The pandemic indeed is the most challenging of it all in our
Schools play their role in extra-curricular by organizing a plethora of
activities like the Annual day functions, excursions, visit to art galleries
and museums, visit to orphanage, destitute homes, animal welfare units. The
aforementioned skill sets are possible to imbibe with the cooperation of both
educators and parents. To quote myself “All educators are not Parents but
all Parents are Educators”. However parent’s role is imperative in bringing
about a holistic development of the child by instilling empathy quotient in
The World Happiness Report published by
UN ranks Denmark consistently as topping in the Happiness quotient which is
largely attributed to the zeitgeist of the Danish way of parenting expressed
through Hygge. ‘Hygge is the quality of coziness
and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or
A very good example of instilling in our children the culture of sensitivity towards their immediate environment can be brought about through an example of the Sikh community which through the Gurudwaras has the concept of volunteering for community service. You have all read and watched in news of the ovation given by the Delhi police and the subsequent praise showered by our Honourable Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi on the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib volunteers for their exemplary service towards the marginalized, disadvantaged, under-privileged sections of the society especially during the pandemic, when many migrant workers could not forage for themselves.
The experiential learning from this example which is beyond the curriculum is foundational in developing the personality of an awakened citizen who would be a responsible and sensitive individual.
So, let us all together go that extra mile to bring out the extraordinary in our children so that they can marvel and appreciate the small wonders bestowed upon us in this ordinary life because extra-curricular is a part of lifelong learning.
(The above article was a part of the Webinar series session participated in by Dr Richa Prakash, Principal, Allenhouse Public School, Panki, Kanpur