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Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Liem, G. A. D., Huan, V., Yeo, L. S., Chua, B. L., & Seng, Y. (2020). Participation in school-based co-curricular activities and student development: A motivation and engagement perspective. National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
Character, citizenship, and values are areas of education that have received increasing attention in the international community. This is also the case for Singapore (Lee, 2012) with an education system guided by the student-centric, values-driven philosophy (Ministry of Education [MOE], 2011, 2012). In his speech at the 2011 MOE Work Plan Seminar, Singapore’s Minister for Education at that time, Mr. Heng Swee Keat, highlighted, “We need to develop our children holistically, in all aspects – moral, cognitive, physical, social and aesthetic or what is termed in Chinese as 德智体群美 (de zhi ti qun mei)” (MOE, 2011, para. 16) and that, “… between academic achievement and values, it must not be “either/or”. We should strive to achieve both” (MOE, 2011, para. 53).
An important out-of-classroom experience recognised to play an important role in holistic development, character building, and 21st century skills and competencies is co-curricular activities (CCAs; Chong-Mok, 2010; MOE, 2010, 2011; Schwarz & Stolow, 2006). In Singapore, CCAs are an integral part of school curriculum and proposed to offer an authentic platform for (a) development of moral values, (b) acquisition and practice of soft skills, (c) social integration of children from differing backgrounds and ethnicities, (d) provision of safe learning environment, (e) opportunities for character and leadership development, and (f) lifelong pursuit of interests and greater outward expression (Chong-Mok, 2010; MOE, 2011). While participation in CCAs during primary education is not compulsory, CCAs are emphasized in secondary schools and categorized into Core (or Main) and Merit (or Secondary/Optional) CCAs. Core CCAs are mandatory for all students, whereas Merit CCAs are offered as an option for students with an interest in a particular CCA area. In both primary and secondary levels, the range of CCAs offered is categorized into four major groups: Physical Sports, Uniformed Groups, Visual and Performing Arts, and Clubs and Societies. With the increased investment in CCAs in Singapore schools (MOE, 2011, 2012), there is a priority to examine the potential impacts of CCAs on the holistic development of Singaporean students. This study was a timely response to this call.
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OER 09/13 GAD
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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