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Let the kids play

  • Published at 12:12 pm December 11th, 2018
Students attend class at a government school Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Students need to do more outside the curriculum

Homework! Projects! Assignments! Coaching classes! Exams! 

These are the major stresses of school life, and how can they not be? 

To manage the hectic schedule is not so easy-breezy, so, kudos to them who do. Education may be the prime reason to go to school. But amidst this crazy routine, a majority of school students in Bangladesh often miss out on a very important aspect of growing up -- extra-curricular activities. They are flippant, ignorant, and often discouraged to participate in extra-curricular tasks.

Burdensome schools

Our country is packed with a number of commercialized schools that solely focus on academic education. These kinds of schools burden students’ lives with tons of classes, tuitions, assignments, and tests. 

Just to be clear, these may be indispensable aspects of schools, but again, an excess of anything never brings good. Excess academic pressure mentally affects a growing student, and a lack of extra-curricular activities dampen students’ cognitive development and social skills.

Unsupportive parents

Every growing child has individuality -- spheres of interests, often unexplored, that can bloom if allowed to experience their interests. Support of parents is a consistent source of strength, and there are parents who are immensely supportive and caring about their child’s interests or passions. 

However, many parents react to this by saying something like: “What rubbish! It won’t lead you to a secure job in the future. How can you even think of anything other than your studies? Don’t you see how X (some random topper classmate) studies all the time?” 

Statements like these often stop the potentials of young minds. 

Fear of criticism and mockery

Now, not all schools are solely academic-focused and not all parents are discouraging. Often, in the schools promoting extra-curricular activities, there are students who are encouraged to experience and develop their potential. 

Yet, this positive attitude is halted by the teasing nature of some classmates. If a boy yearns to perform classical dance, he is mocked and berated for being girly. A girl who is interested in martial arts is taunted for being different. Moreover, students often fail to come out of their shells because of fear of judgment by others. 

What if I mess up? I am not skilled at it, what if people laugh at me? These are the kinds of thoughts that ramble inside their minds, and this mockery and judgment compels them towards a stereotypical mindset, and kills their uniqueness. 

Extra-curricular activities are important not only because it helps to bloom cognitive and social skills, but also helps develop and grow one’s interest, ability, aim, and most importantly, self-belief. 

Therefore, convincing school authorities and parents to promote and support extra-curricular activities and inspiring peers and classmates to participate in them is extremely important moving forward.

Afnan Rahman is a freelance contributor.

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