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Two Sides of the Same Coin: Celebrating Both Academic and Extracurricular Triumphs

Reflecting upon the profound sentiment expressed in the renowned song "Wind Beneath My Wings," it becomes apparent that as guardians we serve as unwavering support for our children's endeavours, propelling them to soar to great heights. This sentiment resonates deeply with the theme I wish to explore: the celebration of both academic and extracurricular accomplishments in our children’s lives.

My experience

Recently, my son came home with a notable accolade as the 'Best Sportsman of the Year.' However, his subdued demeanour, despite this achievement, prompted me to delve into the underlying cause. Despite excelling in sports, the pressure of performing well in both academics and extracurriculars has taken a toll on him, as evidenced by his low spirits when he walked in that afternoon. I always convey to my children,

 "You are my hero, and you can fly higher than an eagle because I will be the wind beneath your wings as you soar to the zenith of glory." 

But even with all my efforts to encourage them, I often feel inadequate as their own expectations are higher. 

Embracing my son with reassurance, I echoed the lyrics of the aforementioned song, reaffirming my unwavering belief in his abilities and congratulating him on his well-deserved success.

Recognizing talent 

My rationale for comforting him was straightforward: the skills essential for excelling in both academic and non-academic pursuits are fundamentally intertwined. Traits such as diligence, discipline, persistence, resilience, perseverance, grit, and determination serve as the cornerstone for success in various domains, whether on the sports field or in the classroom. As a parent, it is imperative to recognize and foster these skills, understanding that they contribute to the development of a well-rounded individual with a robust character foundation.

As educators, we strive to offer a plethora of activities to our students so that they develop skills that will hone their confidence. In fact, at schools, in addition to awarding academic excellence, we also recognize students who have showcased their talents in various categories including the best singer, the best dancer, the best artist, the best theatre artist, and the best quizzer as part of the annual award distribution ceremonies.

Academics and extracurricular activities are two sides of the same coin; they both go hand in hand and have their own set of values. The notion that a child who is a skilled baker lacks academic prowess is irrelevant. Any skill that enables our children to earn a living is valuable. So we must step back and view the entire education system with a fresh perspective and acknowledge our children's achievements, whatever they may be.

Skilled-based initiatives

With the advent of CBSE’s initiative promoting skill-based education, I think it becomes quintessential for parents to flaunt their child’s co-scholastic skills as badges of honour. The Department of Skill Education, CBSE, has introduced several skill modules like beauty and wellness, handicrafts, pottery, embroidery, baking, food preservation, block printing and making graphic novels. The most significant aspects of this initiative are the following:

  • If a student studies three compulsory subjects (Science, Mathematics, and Social Science) and also opts to study a Skill subject as the sixth optional subject, then the school can consider the aggregate of the best five subjects, including two languages, and the best three subjects (including the Skill subject) to calculate the final score.

  • If a student fails one of the elective subjects like Science, Mathematics, or Social Science, but passes the Skill subject, the Skill subject will replace the failed subject in the Class X Board Examination results.

  • Students also have the option to choose a third language as a seventh optional subject, along with the Skill subject as the sixth additional subject.

  • Students with Special Needs may opt for one language and any four subjects, including the Skill subject.

Such initiatives encourage children to explore the world and dream beyond academics. The world needs actors, singers, writers, artists, and chefs as much as it needs doctors and engineers. Moreover, not only do such skills push children to pursue their dreams, but they also equip them with the basic skills required to survive in this competitive world.

Developing life skills

With globalization, every parent is eager to send their child abroad to pursue better education as well as job opportunities. I believe that in addition to financial security, we must also empower them with basic life skills to sustain themselves, lest they find it very difficult to survive.

When my cousin moved to Australia for higher studies during the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself lacking basic survival skills to survive, like boiling an egg or even brewing tea. Hearing about such incidents has driven me to introduce basic life skills activities into our school's curriculum. We initiate activities such as peeling potatoes, sewing buttons, tying laces, folding clothes and offering first aid in our school’s preparatory section.

Celebrating both academic and non-academic achievements is symbiotic, akin to two complementary aspects of the same whole. The need of the hour is to acknowledge and nurture our children's interests and talents beyond traditional academic pursuits, recognizing the holistic value it brings to children’s overall development. Initiatives such as the CBSE's emphasis on students mastering two life skills by Grade X underscore the importance of a balanced approach to education.

As stewards of our children's future, we must embrace our role as torchbearers, empowering and guiding them in pursuing their passions, while celebrating their individuality and freedom of choice. So, let’s champion our children, celebrating not only their achievements but also their journey of growth and self-discovery.

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S B Choudhary
S B Choudhary
6 days ago
Valutazione 4 stelle su 5.

Very true Dr. Bhambi, your article is a heartfelt and insightful reflection on the importance of balancing academics and extracurricular activities in our children's education. You have eloquently emphasizes the interconnectedness of skills required for success in both areas, highlighting traits such as perseverance, resilience, and determination. Your article also sheds light on the valuable CBSE initiatives promoting skill-based education, which help students develop life skills essential for their future. This thoughtful piece is a compelling reminder for educators and parents alike to recognize and celebrate the diverse talents and achievements of our children, fostering their overall growth and confidence. An excellent read for anyone invested in holistic education.

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