Formerly known as Extra Curricular Activities, Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) are an essential part of a student’s school life. It was renamed in 1999 so as to better reflect the important role that it plays in the education system and school curriculum. CCAs are integral in ensuring that students receive a well-rounded and holistic education, which is the aim of Singapore’s education system.
The Co-Curricular Activities System serves as a platform at which students can develop their character and build up resilient traits, which would not be achievable through classroom rote learning. Hence, the importance of CCAs is highly regarded and it is compulsory for all students in local schools to take up at least one main CCA in their secondary school years and beyond.
The available CCAs for students to choose from could be categorized into four main groups. They are the Sports, the Uniformed Groups, the Musical Groups and the Clubs and Societies.
Sports are chosen by many students as their CCA due to the wide variety of sports that are available for choice. The wide variety of sports that are available ensures that each student’s needs are catered to and that no talents are put to waste due to a lack of facilities or expertise.
Sports CCAs generally train up a student’s physical fitness and help to develop a student's leadership skills, interpersonal skills and other important character and traits such as perseverance and determination. Individual’s ruggedness is also developed through sports CCAs.
Some examples of Sports CCAs that are available in schools are Track and Field, Swimming, Badminton, Tennis, Basketball, Rugby and Hockey. Annual district and national championships are held for each sport, allowing the school teams from the various schools to compete for the prestigious championship title.
Uniformed Groups CCA
Uniformed groups are CCAs that are able to develop one to his or her best. Through the uniformed groups, one would learn about leadership, inter-personal effectiveness, national loyalty and pride amongst others. Activities held in the Uniformed Groups training sessions include doing drills and physical training, learning specific skills (such as first aid skills) and providing service to the society.
The Uniformed Groups that are available in local schools are the National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC), Red Cross (RC), St. John Ambulance Brigade (SJAB), Boys’ Brigade (BB), Girls’ Brigade (GB), Singapore Scouts, Girl Guides and National Civil Defence Corps (NCDC). The NCC and NPCC are compulsory CCAs that all schools must have.
Unit proficiency awards would be given out to the various uniformed groups from individual schools as an assessment of their overall proficiency and effectiveness. To qualify for a Sustained Achievement Award in Uniformed Groups, schools must ensure that every 1 in 4 of its students is in a Uniformed Group.
Musical Groups CCA
In line with the ministry’s aim of developing student’s holistically, musical groups are offered as CCAs to cater to the musically inclined. Under the wing of the musical groups, a wide variety of available activities could be found. This once again caters to the students, allowing one’s talent in music to be developed to his best.
In practices, students would hone their musical abilities and skills through lessons with instructors that are engaged by the schools. Students would learn about their instruments and to play together as an ensemble or choir.
Through the musical groups, students are expected to be able to develop their musical talents further, as well as to learn traits such as that of perseverance and determination. These traits are essential in the becoming of a good musician.
The Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging is held every two years for all musical groups. It is commonly regarded as the benchmark for schools to assess their musical groups’ abilities. The biennial judging awards honour rolls based on the schools’ performance. The available awards are Gold with Honours, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Certificate of Participation.
Examples of available musical groups in local schools are the School Band, Choir, Chinese Orchestra, Dance Clubs, Drama Societies and Instrumental Ensembles. The School Band is a mandatory CCA that all schools must have.
Clubs and Societies CCA
Clubs and Societies have a wide variety of CCAs under its wing, ranging from academically-inclined societies to service-providing clubs. The clubs and societies are available so as to further one's interest in a specific field and to serve the community.
In the academic clubs, students would learn more about their field of interest through senior students or experienced professionals that are engaged by the school. In the training sessions, students would be able to have queries answered and gain new knowledge about their interested subject.
The available academic clubs includes the InfoComm Club, Mathematics Club, Science Club and the Humanities Society amongst others.
Service clubs, on the other hand, aims to serve the society or the school population. Such service clubs aim to develop the student’s sense of otherness and to learn to care for others in the society.
Available service club includes the Interact Club, Audio-Visual Club and School Newsletter Club.
Many competitions are held for clubs and societies and these competitions are often uniquely designed for certain clubs and societies. Inter-school competitions to test the school team’s abilities are often held for clubs such as the Science Club and the Mathematics Club. On the other hand, service clubs generally do not participate in many competitions, but instead focus on their aim of serving the community.
CCA Grading System
The CCA Grading System serves to assess a pupil’s involvement in his Co-Curricular Activities in his years of secondary or pre-university schooling. The current system of grading is the LEAPS system, which is an acronym for Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement, Participation and Service. The five aspects are the key components of one’s holistic development and they would be essential in determining the student's grade.
Under the leadership component, points would be awarded for leadership appointments that the pupil holds. This includes that of a Prefect, Class Monitor and CCA Leader.
In the enrichment aspect, points would be awarded for a student's participation in activities and workshops that hones his development in Enterprise, Citizenship and Personal Skills.
In the Achievement sector, points would be awarded for a pupil's accomplishments, attainments and representations. Participation in international competitions would net a higher number of points as compared to participation in a national competition.
In the participation component, points would be awarded for a pupil’s consistent attendance in his main CCA as well as participation in intra-school activities.
Lastly, service points are awarded based on the number of Community Involvement Programme (CIP) hours that the pupil has clocked over the course of his secondary school years. A total of 100 hours clocked over 4 years would give the student the maximum five points attainable.
CCA Grade Use
CCA Grades could be used for promotion to Pre-University colleges. A grade of A1 or A2 would allow for a deduction of 2 points from a pupil’s ‘O’ Levels L1R5 score while a grade of B3 or B4 would allow for a deduction of 1 point from the pupil’s L1R5 score.
The CCA grade is also commonly taken into consideration in university applications. Universities would often look into the applicant’s CCA record to determine if he is eligible for a place in the university.