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By: Marylyn B. Francisco

For a working individual, work and life are two sides of the same coin. The stability of each is constantly pursued. While the balance between the two stands as the pinnacle of a professional’s dreams, it is one of the secret formulas to success.

For students, there are academics and extracurricular activities. The latter is an essential element that keeps the drive to pursue the former alive. The threat of removing it, even for a single school year, would cause even more inefficiency and burnout.

Extracurricular activities can be mediums for fun and recreation. In most cases, these are effective foundations of the reward system for primary schools because it removes the culture of mediocrity and passivity from the students. When viewed from this perspective, co-curricular activities cultivate subconscious traits that are helpful in academics in the long run. For instance, it increases students’ sense of commitment and ability to handle responsibilities by creating opportunities to manage matters aside from academic obligations (Top 9 Benefits of Extracurricular Activities in School, 2022). Consequently, it teaches them the basics of time management and the principles of sorting priorities. Moreover, extracurricular activities introduce new views for the students to explore so they can expose themselves to different competencies where they can excel.

On another note, co-curricular activities may act as channels for students to acquire new skills that are not part of the academic curriculum or develop the ones they have already acquired. In this sense, such activities broaden the learning field to go beyond the walls of the classroom and enables exponential growth. At a young age, students can develop their inclination in sports, music, arts, public speaking, and several other fields or ignite a passion if they haven’t had any. In addition, students’ self-esteem would increase as they experience progress in other aspects besides academics. Extracurricular activities also lay down opportunities for collaboration and teamwork to hone the students’ social skills, which are crucial in their future endeavors.

 Whether for recreation or additional learning, co-curricular activities are essential in the learning process. However, with the announcement of Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte to halt such activities for the school year 2022-2023 last August and instead focus on catching up with the learning losses during the pandemic years, all benefits mentioned above are about to go to waste (Escudero, 2022).

Aside from this, students have been on a two-year all-academic set-up because of online learning with little to no opportunities to participate in stimulating extracurricular activities. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) noted that there would be a “drastic loss of motivation” when co-curricular activities are banned now that the students have a chance to participate with the classes going back to face-to-face modality (Why Ban Extracurricular?, 2022).

Learning doesn’t only happen in classrooms, and learning doesn’t only mean maths and sciences. Anything meaningful absorbed by the learners is a part of their learning process and should never be filtered out of the picture.

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