Why Extra-curriculars and Inter-personal skills are as important as Academics?

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Simran Nigam

Content Curator

Indian education system has changed over the past decades immensely. The education sector has undergone radical evolution with equal emphasis being put on Extra Curricular Activities and development of inter-personal skills among students. Involvement in co-curricular activities has been identified as means to help students develop dynamic personality, thus enabling them to perform better in the professional world.

Earlier, the prevalent perception about extra-curricular activities a few years ago was that it was an utter waste of time and was not encouraged much. But with time the cloud has cleared and extra-curricular activities are promoted as an integral part of the academic curriculum. Many universities also provide relaxation in admission criteria to applicants who have had a commendable record in extra-curricular activities.

What are Extra-curricular activities?

Extra-curricular activities, in plain term, means any activity which falls outside the aegis of academics or curricular activities. It can include anything from dramatics, dance, music, debate to sports. These days extra-curricular activities has broadened its horizon to include activities such as poetry slams and writing for college magazines.

What are Inter-personal skills?

In simple terms, Inter-personal skills mean an individual’s ability to communicate or interact with other people. Inter-personal skills are one of the most sought after quality in a candidate applying for a job in any sector. One of the major reason of introducing group-discussion and interview rounds in placement drives and government recruitment exams is to test an applicant’s ability to communicate and interact.

Importance of Extra-Curricular activities and Inter-personal Skills

Over the years, there has been a shift in the attitude toward co-curricular activities and its contribution to all-round development of an individual. Universities have begun to emphasize on participation in co-curricular activities. It is not an unknown fact that all major universities in India provide a relaxation of upto 5% in marks required for admission to students who have had a history of participation in co-curricular activities. But in the recent years, there has been a demand of candidates with experience in extra-curricular activities in the professional world. There are many government departments and semi-government undertakings which have provision for recruitment under ECA and Sports quota.

The idea behind this change in perception is that candidates with a record of extra-curricular activities in school and college possess good communication and people skills. When it comes to professional world, it is as important to have knowledge of the academic field as it is to have the ability to interact with new people. With the world gradually becoming a global village, it is becoming more and more important to have the ability to communicate with a variety of people every day.

Inter-personal skills are required not just to deal with clients but also to maintain good working relations with the employees and co-workers within an organization. It is considered an important aspect of a manager’s or leader’s personality.

Nowadays colleges and organizations alike run various programs for development of inter-personal skills. There are several certificate courses being run which deal with development of inter-personal skills. Such courses again highlight the importance of having language and communication skills in an individual. The fact that most of the top management institutes, conduct personal interview for selection of candidates also highlight the necessity of these skills in managerial positions.

How ECA helps in development of Inter-personal skills?

ECA contributes considerably toward development of inter-personal skills. Some of the main points of co-relation between ECA and inter-personal skills are explained below:

  1. ECA helps in improving self-motivation in students which eventually reflects on their academic performance. It has been found in multiple studies that people who participate in such activities and have hobbies are more motivated toward their studies and have better time-management skills.
  2. Participation in extra-curricular activities help students to develop critical thinking and analytical abilities. Such activities often put students in situations where they are required to think and analyze and find solution to various problems.
  3. It also helps in developing leadership skills and social skills as it requires students to take charge in various situations. It also forces students in scenarios where they have to interact with new people, thus helping them in developing social skills.
  4. Since most of the activities which are categorized as co-curricular activities involve working in teams, students who participate in ECA turn out to be good team players, a skill valued highly by companies while hiring.
  5. Participation in co-curricular activities also helps in developing a sense of responsibility thus transforming an individual into a model employee.