Which CCA/ECA?

If you studied or are studying in Singapore, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term CCA or for those of who you who’ve lived longer, ECA.

CCA and ECA are the same thing with the latter being given a rebranding to the name for the same concept (that’s Ministry of Education for you).

What’s CCA and ECA then?

ECA simply means Extra-Curricular Activity. That simply means that it is an additional activity beyond curriculum time whereby students who wish to pursue interests in certain activities can do so. It is absolutely voluntary but is highly recommended that you do so as a secondary school student as it would speak a lot about your involvement towards the school and would help you in furthering your education to a good school. (It’s always about going to a good school in Singapore even when the education system is ahead of Cambridge)

CCA then means Co-Curricular Activity. It’s still the same thing as the former but with the change in name also reflects a change in policies. Students are required to participate in a Core CCA throughout their entire secondary school life. Students are also allowed to be involved in other CCAs provided it does not clash with their Core CCA. (Mind you, there are CCAs which fall under Core CCA, eg: Uniform Group)

As opposed to ECA, CCA is supplementary to the curriculum with the objectives remaining as such “to enhance social interaction, leadership, healthy recreation, self-discipline and self-confidence”.

CCAs range from a wide spectrum from Uniform Group to Sports to being a part of a ghost society in school – if one exists.

CCAs are also extremely important to a student studying in Singapore especially if they hope to pursue a tertiary education at a well-recognised institution.

For example, if you’re planning to attend Raffles Institution Junior College, a student would need to hit a perfect GCE ‘O’ Level Score of L1R5 of 6 points and further attain a deduction of 2 points from your CCA. Thus to enter RIJC, one would need an overall score of 4 points after deduction.

But whilst the MOE’s objective for CCAs is laudable, the one’s who take the beating brunt are the teachers.

Teachers are simply educators who just want to teach what they have been trained for and are passionate about. It’s bad enough that they have markings to do which eat up into their own personal time – but the Ministry isn’t really bothered about that. Teachers are also forced to be in-charge of one CCA on top of all the other responsibilities that they have (teach, mark, get involved in school committees, entertain parents) and the since CCA is supplementary to the curriculum, it is therefore after school hours.

But that’s perhaps not the worst.

The worst is perhaps to have teachers not be able to choose which CCA they want to be a part of. A CCA of their of own shared interest and the reason is as simple and as ridiculous as it can be.

Each CCA needs to have a minimum and maximum number of teachers allowed on it – this is dependent on the size of the CCA. So if you’re passionate about Sound and Visuals and want to be a part of the AVA Club but if there’s already enough teachers in there, you’ll be bumped to another CCA that your Reporting Officer/Head of Department/Principal sees fit. This despite the fact that perhaps the teacher in-charge doesn’t know hoots about AVA but is simply there because they just want to spend their time doing something which doesn’t require much of their presence.
(This is only an example, I’m not sure if AVA Club really does have nothing much to do or not)

So, just like that, you’re bumped to another CCA that you perhaps hate so much like Uniform Group.

I was from National Cadet Corp (AIR) and whilst I enjoy marching, shouting commands and doing push-ups under the hot sun and looking good in my starched uniformed, some teachers perhaps don’t fancy donning the 100% polyester uniform which doesn’t allow good ventilation of your body’s heat and doesn’t do a good job of absorbing your perspiration as well, leaving your perspiration to trickle down your skin.

On an Bi-Ennial Exchange Programme to Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

On a Bi-Ennial Exchange Programme to Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

A disgruntled teacher with no passion nor interest in the CCA could mean a very angry Principal.


Because, schools are forever chasing awards that gives them credibility as schools which offer good programmes aside from producing good grades (Value-Added).

But Principals aren’t bothered about ‘Happiness Index’ as how the local government doesn’t because what’s more important to this country and society is producing results.

But I have to take my hats off to most of our teachers here because they put up with so much nonsensical bullshit from so many people yet remain in service because they want to educate the young.

If that’s not noble, then I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately, some just can’t take the pressure and leave or worst, end their life or end up in a mental facility.

I’m not sure which philosopher or social scientist did our country look at when it was progressing but I’m quite sure that Singaporeans aren’t happy despite being over-achievers.

2 thoughts on “Which CCA/ECA?

  1. Hey, if you can see this then that’s great!

    I’m currently in secondary school in Singapore and I feel like CCA is just a gigantic scam. Firstly, all it does is taking up a lot of time such that I find myself not having enough time to just cope with what the curriculum requires.

    And regarding the point about medals and honours, I totally agree and so do many of my schoolmates. In my school, I can’t help but mention, RGS, so called best school for girls, despite the incredibly wide selection of CCAs, the CCAs which most people end up in are the “least selective” uniform groups. And NOT because of their interest, but rather because of all the pre-requisites (Which I find very ridiculous because of how the school always stresses on passion and not for medals).

    A particularly ridiculous one was the mere 3 places in badminton for a school with 400 students a level, and not only that, it is extremely discouraging to know that in order to even qualify for the try-outs, one must have a personal trainer, win a zonal award, and it goes on.

    In all, I feel like MOE should really rethink this entire notion. And seriously, as if when we get older, we would actually apply first aid, march, salute….. it just goes to waste, all our precious time.


    • Hey.. I can definitely see what you wrote! So that’s awesome!

      Students like you today have a lot more to study in school. I never attended such ‘elite’ school or had an ‘elite’ education but the standard curriculum 10 years ago was exhausting enough which was why I never bothered too much. Anyways, just so you know, the curriculum is a mere guide for teachers. It is no requirement for teachers to complete the curriculum or to cover the whole syllabus. What’s necessary is to cover only what’s to be tested in exams, rest is just for understanding 🙂

      I’m not sure how RGS operates its’ CCA system there since it’s pretty much autonomous. I’ve had two ex-gfs from there, one of which played squash though she never had a personal coach. I guess she must have been darn good!

      I’d refute on what your last sentence though because first aid does come in handy. It’s a skill to learn which can be applied to everyday use and uniform groups merely do nothing more than to inculcate a sense of camadarie, teamwork and ever-lasting friendship. Your marching and salutes helps with your muscle coordination cause seriously, I’ve had the experience to teach trainees how to coordinate leg and hand movement. It’s easy for people who have good motor skills but for others, it’s a real challenge!.

      But all that aside, you should try to enjoy secondary school life as much as possible! Do the craziest stuff everyday cos it’ll be a great story to tell others when you’re an adult 🙂


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