Unveiling the Illusion: Extra Curricular Activities as a Detour in the Western Education System

The Deceptive Perception of ECAs:
Within the Western education system, extra-curricular activities are often perceived as non-essential and relegated to the status of mere “add-ons.” They are frequently considered distractions from the primary focus of academic studies. This misguided perception perpetuates the belief that pursuing creative interests is a deviation from the core purpose of education. It fails to acknowledge that true education encompasses more than mere accumulation of information and standardized assessments. By categorizing creative activities as extra-curricular, students are led to believe that they are additional, non-essential components of their education.
This distorted perception downplays their significance, inhibiting the development of crucial life skills and stifling individual potential. In the race to adhere to the beliefs of the Western education system, many parents have succumbed to the notion that their child’s success is solely determined by academic achievements. They believe that if their child excels in school, acquires a prestigious degree, and secures a well-paying job, all will be well. However, this mindset often neglects the true essence of education and the well-being of their children as human beings.
The emphasis on material wealth and societal status has led parents to prioritize financial gain over their child’s holistic development. The belief that “money will solve everything” blinds them to the significance of nurturing their child’s emotional, creative, and spiritual growth. They fail to recognize that education encompasses much more than earning a degree and accumulating wealth.By perpetuating the notion that success is solely tied to academic achievements, parents unwittingly contribute to a cycle of fear and conformity. Children internalize the message that they must constantly strive for external validation and financial stability.
This mindset stifles their innate curiosity, creativity, and passion, as they become trapped in the pursuit of societal expectations rather than exploring their true potential.The notion of “padhai karo, baad me ye sab ho jayega” (focus on studies, everything else can wait) further exacerbates the problem. The promised “baad me” (later) rarely materializes, as the demands and pressures of adult life take hold. The child, who was once filled with dreams and aspirations, becomes ensnared in a system that values conformity and monetary success above all else.
The Wisdom of Ancient Indian Education:
In ancient India, education was not confined to the narrow boundaries of academic subjects alone. It was a comprehensive and holistic system that embraced a multitude of disciplines, known as the 64 kalas and 14 Vidya. These encompassed various art forms, sciences, spiritual teachings, and life skills. The education system recognized the interconnectedness of knowledge, fostering the development of well-rounded individuals who possessed not only intellectual prowess but also emotional intelligence, creativity, and a deep understanding of life’s complexities.
By recognizing and nurturing the innate creative abilities of individuals, education can transcend the limitations imposed by the Western system. Engaging in art forms, exploring diverse disciplines, and pursuing creative passions can foster critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, self-expression, and emotional well-being. These pursuits enable individuals to develop a comprehensive understanding of themselves, their cultural heritage, and the world around them.
It is crucial for parents to recognize that education should not be reduced to a means to an end. It should be a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and fulfillment. By nurturing their child’s diverse interests, encouraging creativity, and fostering a love for learning beyond the confines of textbooks, parents can help their children become well-rounded individuals who can navigate life’s challenges with resilience and wisdom.
It is time for parents to break free from the shackles of the Western education system’s narrow definition of success. By embracing a more holistic approach to education, they can empower their children to embrace their uniqueness, pursue their passions, and lead fulfilling lives. True success lies not in conforming to societal expectations but in living authentically, cultivating personal happiness, and making meaningful contributions to the world.
Dr.Radhika Veenasadhika
Veena Venu Art Foundation
Email: director@veenavenuartfoundation.com

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