Extra curricular activities as formality
CO-CURRICULAR activities like debates, essay writing and painting are essential for exploring and developing talent of students. Such competitions should be appreciated and arranged at all levels.
As a student of Government College, Toba Tek Singh, I participated in a contest (dis) organised by the Punjab government.
Apparently, the purpose of the organisers was to highlight the issue of corruption but, ironically, the contest itself became an example of foul play.
The whole programme was marred by ill-planning, ill-defined rules and bad execution. For instance, it was a free-for-all type contests disregarding the level and the medium of the contestants.
We were told that undergraduate and graduate students can participate in it but, astonishingly, a participant at divisional level contest introduced herself as a student of MA English. More strange was that positions were combined for English and Urdu.
Two separate panels of judges evaluated the essays written in English and Urdu language, but strangely they combined the positions.
One fails to understand how it makes sense to hold contest in two mediums and mix up the results for only two positions. Even the judges were surprised on this Urdu-English combination.
Off the record, they did admit that fair evaluation is not possible, they personally appreciated my essay but ‘regretted’ their ‘helplessness’ before the laid-down rules.
Let us turn our attention to the situation at colleges. Whole year there is little homework to develop speaking and writing skills among students but all of a sudden some directive/email comes from high-ups to stage such a show on a very short notice.
Then no one has time to think, plan and prepare. None should be surprised if the outcome is only haphazard and badly managed fake contests are organised to demonstrate compliance.
This is what happens too often. It is how we make a mockery of productive activities.
Skill-developing programmes demand wisdom, care, a proper team and transparency. They should not be meant for cheap advertisement.
Toba Tek Singh