Nazbano Ahmed Ali

While reading about five concurrent curricula which include official curriculum, operational curriculum, hidden curriculum, null curriculum and extra curriculum; I suddenly had a strong argument in my mind that in today’s world, it is important for the educators to put equal stress on the planning of extra curriculum as they stress on the official curriculum. I question myself that why I am thinking this should be done?

After contemplating for few minutes on this question, I got few pertinent reasons behind this argument. These reasons are the expectations of parents and educational institutes, and the environment in which we used to live in today.

Firstly, I feel that today education has become very expensive and with this, expectations of the parents are much higher and they want their children to perform well in their studies. On the other hand, the educational institutes also have greater expectations from the students. Importantly, the grading systems at most of the national institutes have been raised to match the international levels, like at AKUH and IED; the international cutoff criteria are used to grade the students’ academic performance. These factors are the major stressors for the students as they have to fulfil the expectation of the parents and meet the standards of the educational institutes. It is claimed that academic factors are greater perceived cause of stress in the students and if this stress remains unnoticed, this can have negative impact on the physical and psychological health of the students.

Moreover, it is important to understand that the environment in which we live has many demands on our minds. Why is this so? The possible reasons are the technological developments, and the fast growing knowledge. I strongly feel that education has become more challenging because of the unlimited knowledge that is available for the children through various technological resources. This requires students to remain updated with the recent knowledge on the given subject to perform well in the class and to compete with other classmates. Thus students have to spend much time studying and working on the computer to fulfil the parents’ expectations and academic and environmental demands. Not surprisingly, the national research by Suhail & Bargees (2006) has reported the adverse effects of technology on physical, psychological and interpersonal wellbeing of the students.

If I analyse above mentioned reasons on the bases of my personal experiences, students who are high achiever, get appreciation from their parents and teachers; but the average students may not get the similar response. I still remember my school teachers who used to give me example of one brilliant student and kept telling me to be like her. Now when I reflect back to those days, I remember I used to feel very bad for being compared by other students. Sometimes, I felt useless and incomplete. However, the positive learning experience in a professional nursing school has broadened my thinking about the role the educational institutes play in building positive self-esteem of an individual.

Keeping in view my current role as an instructor at a university and the observations from the surrounding faculty, I feel that we the educators claim to have humanistic approach. And we do try to treat every individual student as a unique individual but we do expect every student to perform academically well.

 Sometimes we lack appreciation of those students who are outstanding in sports, drama, arts, music etc. I feel that high expectations from parents, teachers and educational institutes are not only the major source of stress in students’ life but they also give students a very narrow perception of the education, life and their possible destination in this world.

To conclude, it is vital for the educators and educational institutions to pay extra attention in planning extracurricular activities in schools, colleges and universities. Educators must do every effort to engage students in these activities. Extra curriculum may act as a buffer to neutralise the academic stressors of the students. Extracurricular activities can enhance the self-esteem of those students who may be average that have different talents in them. This will not only allow students to relieve the stress and enhance their self-esteem but also to maintain good physical, psychological and social health.