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.
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.