Co-curricular activities are the extension of, not a diversion from, a good educational program and support the academic mission of the school. As adolescence, youth tends to make various choices in life which directly affects their overall adjustment to the society. Numerous studies has discovered a significant association between the participation in co-curricular activities and character development of students, however, the role of different activities in enhancing the different attributes of the youth has still not come to a concrete setting.
Co -curricular activities and Interpersonal skills
According to Wagner (1999), co-curricular activities plays a vital role in developing interpersonal skills which is considered integral in the success for both professional and personal context (as cited in Kariyana et al., 2013) .
Hoffman and Xu (2002) suggest that the involvement in series of co-curricular activities reduce social crimes or behaviors which are not socially acceptable (as cited in Kariyana et al., 2013). On the other hand, Adler and Adler (1998) asserted that participation in co-curricular activities increases social interaction with development of interpersonal skills. Such studies indicate that those students who participate in co-curricular activities tend to develop numerous skills that increase the ability to develop and maintain relationships with outside world, which can avoid maladjustment in the society (as cited in Kariyana et al., 2013). Many educationist also believe that co-curricular activities increase social interaction, enhance leadership quality, makes student self disciplined and confident. According to Wagner (1999), co-curricular activities promote personal accomplishments and develop traits of interpersonal skills.
A medical student expressed his views on improved communication from participating co-curricular activities. He said: “I believe an important skill is talking, expressing point of view, approaching other people, especially the physician and consultant, and hope nobody was inconvenienced by us when we approached them” [Jam12]. Another student believed that good communication is not only verbal but fifty five percent to sixty five percent can be credited to body language [Jam12]. This study depicts improved interpersonal skills from involvement in activities with highlights about the success in their career due to acquired skills. Aligned with above context (Boone et al., 1988) found out that two hundred forty three CEOs of eight hundred largest industries in united state has at the least participated in one co-curricular activity during their college (as cited in Rubin, Bommer and Baldwin, 2002). With regard to this study, curricular activities- to great extend- encompasses capacity for many knowledge and skills required which not only improves interpersonal skill but develops attributes which are the basic requirement for any kind of career field.
Astin (1993) addressed the impact on participation of clubs on students and he reported that interpersonal skills have statistical significant correlation with hours per week student spend time in club activities (as cited in Foubert and Grainger, 2006). He, however, further reiterated that the involvement in student peer group has more favorable outcome, that is, students are more likely to develop interpersonal competence. Cooper et al., (1994) also found out that greater the participation in clubs better is student’s psychosocial developments (as cited in Foubert and Grainger, 2006). Hood (1984) has hypothesized that participation in co-curricular activities is positively correlated to development of matured interpersonal relationships (as cited in Foubert and Grainger, 2006). This hypothesis however yielded a conflicting result in a more recent study carried out by Martin (2000) who found no significant correlation between involvement in club activities and development of matured interpersonal relationship (as cited in Foubert and Grainger, 2006). According to Foubert and Grainger (2006) such differences in result can be attributed to differences in sample size of the research.
Interpersonal skills: A measure for Social Adjustment
In words of Dr. Tony Wagner “There are three basic skills that students need if they want to thrive in a knowledge economy: the ability to do critical thinking and problem solving; the ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to collaborate”. The need of interpersonal skills are emphasized more with globalization, however the importance of interpersonal skills to keep with the pace of change dates back to our history. The study of interpersonal skills spans over 5000 years and the oldest essay on importance of interpersonal skill was discovered during 3000 BC which mentioned about advice to Kagemni, the oldest son of PharoahHuni on the public speaking (Hargie and Dickson, 2005). The oldest book ‘Percepts’ written during 2675 BC by Egypt is also a description of effective communication (Hargie and Dickson, 2005). Ever since, need for interpersonal skills have been considered as an issue of importance which further gained popularity from late twentieth century. This indicates that interpersonal skills are those skills which are required in all changing times.
Interaction in society is crucial as it defines our purpose of existence. Hargie and Dickson (2005) highlights that communication is essential for sharing of knowledge to fully acknowledge the existence of civilization. Interpersonal relationships are identified as the most challenging experience in today’s world; therefore, interpersonal skills are considered the most important tool for social adjustment. Interpersonal skills are basis for any kind of relationship and communication are considered effective when the message that is sent is the same message that is received. A quantitative study conducted by Erozkan (2013) on high school students in Mugla, Turkey revealed that communication skills are significantly correlated with social self-efficacy. The results indicated that as communication skill increases, social adjustment also increases.
A research by Segrin and Flora (2000) shows that good communication and social skills can help people cope up with stress, enable to adapt and adopt to major life transition and less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and loneliness (as cited in Hargie and Dickson 2005). It can be concluded that interpersonal skills, to great extend, can help individual to socially adjust and help them balance between their needs and the environment. Similarly, (Cam and Tumkaya, 2007; D’Zurilla, 1999 and Nezu, 2007) also found out that the individual who are competent in problem solving has positive self-perception in interpersonal skills (as cited in Erozkan, 2013). Therefore, interpersonal skills develop problem solving skill which causes one to tackle the problems in life than to avoid it. According to theories of social problem solving, one’s ability to solve problem are associated with one’s ability of adjustment in his social life (D’Zurrilla and Nezu as cited in Erozkan, 2013). It can be thought that the individual’s interpersonal skills affect his or her approach to overall adjustment in life. In similar vein, Hybels and Weaver (1998) stated: “To live, then, is to communicate. To communicate effectively is to enjoy life more fully” (as cited in Hargie and Dickson 2005).
Social adjustment is considered an attribute of self that reflect cognition of enduring interpersonal skills. According to self-psychology theory of (Baker and Baker,1987; Detrick,1985; Kohut,1984; Lee and Robbins, 1995) social connectedness which leads to social adjustment is developed early in life and extends throughout the life (as cited in Lee, Draper and Lee, 2001). They reiterated that those who participate in social activities and interact with other can identify themselves with groups where as those who experience repeated interpersonal failures have difficulty relating with social world. The study on relationship between social connectedness and psychological adjustment with interpersonal behaviors as mediating variable by (Lee et al., 2001) revealed that accurate interpersonal skills can cause social connectedness which increases social adjustability of an individual with less psychological distress. It is also noted from the study that dysfunctional interpersonal skills contributes to psychological stress and maladjustment.
Young people experiences role confusion and blur self image, therefore they need to develop various skill to build stable identity. To this end, interactive activities with appropriate orientation are considered essential. A study conducted on University students in Kenya by Kyalo and Chumba (2011) to find out the influence of interpersonal skills on social adjustment, found out that there is significant correlation between level of interpersonal skills and social adjustment of the students, therefore, based on past literatures, this study employed interpersonal skills as tool to measure social adjustment of the students.
Co-curricular activities and Social Adjustment
Co-curricular activities foster success in later life. National Federation of State High School Association (1999) found out that participation in high school activities is often a predictor of later success- in college, in work place and in society (NFSHSA, 1999). According to the research of Holloway (2002), students who participate in school activities such as clubs, sports, service project, band and competitive sports are not only engaged in school itself but also in academic school work. Similarly, a research done by Buoye (2000) found that there is a significant relationship between participation in co-curricular activities and success in high school, college, careers and the community. Youth have various opportunities to participate in co-curricular activities and the study of their participation on different type of activities will indicate the development of personal attributes of an individual which in turn will determine their social adjustability.
We should however, also take in account that not all activities promote to development in attributes. For instance, over involvement in sororities were found to have negative impacts on over all development (Terenzini et al as cited in Jamal, 2012). Conversely, Hargie (2000) asserts that group interaction is crucial in interpersonal development (as cited in Sheperd et al., 2010). By, these logic different activities are more likely to give distinct outcome and hence it is important to identify activities which are interaction oriented. I assert more on interactive and communicative activities because the conference held on December 2009 on “Educating for Gross National Happiness” agreed to effectively cultivate GNH principles and values, including deep critical and creative thinking, ecological literacy, practice of the country's profound, ancient wisdom and culture, contemplative learning, a holistic understanding of the world, genuine care for nature and for others, competency to deal effectively with the modern world, preparation for right livelihood, and informed civic engagement in Bhutan [Pol12]
Be it education for GNH or whole some education, to this end inclusion of co-curricular activities is a necessity because this helps in development of skills required to effectively deal with world. Daley and Leahy (2003) shows that participation in co-curricular activities may influence mental-well being young people, making them have better and stronger self-perception compared to the non-participants (as cited in Wilson, 2009). It can, therefore, be concluded that participation in co-curricular activities can boost self-confidence of the youth.
The needs for co-curricular activities, though associated with the development of skills to equal the pace of changing environment, Jamalis and Fauzee (2007) is of opinion that co-curricular activities can play a crucial role in overcoming unhealthy attitudes and lifestyle to fit in a community. Similarly, a national study of research done by Smart and good (n.d) found that involvement in co-curricular activities can cause students to behave more decently (as cited in Hati, 2011). To this end, country like Malaysia conducts extra co-curricular activities on compulsory basis (Jamalis and Fauzee, 2007). Further, the study conducted by Mastufski and Keeter (1999) aggravate the importance of co-curricular activities, as their finding showed that ninety one percent of police chief agreed on greater investment for co-curricular activities (as cited in Jamalis and Fauzee, 2007). This indicates that the emphasis on co-curricular activities are not restricted to one country, rather it is conducted worldwide.
In recognizing such Importance, Bhutan, like many other members of the global community has invested immense resources to ensure that all young people are provided with opportunities to grow, develop and prosper as fully engaged, responsive and productive citizens (Department of Youth and Sport, 2010). A curriculum plan is developed where social roles, attitudes and values that become part of the beliefs and practices of responsible citizens are included as club activities which consist of various other activities under the day-to-day guidance of teachers (Dorji 2005 as cited in Centre for educational research and development, 2009). Education remains one of the key policy areas in Bhutan where young people can develop livelihood values, skills and attitudes that will prepare them to successfully engage with the changing global environment and contribute to national development and prosperity. According to National Education Policy of Bhutan, school curriculum should not only strive for development of skills, values and attitude to foster innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship but also prepare students for the world of work [edu14]. In this line, student should participate in co-curricular activities to build up skills which will eventually become their future assets.
Wilson (2009) is also of the stand that those who participate in activities are more likely to make friends easily, and adjust to new environment. Kulshrestha (1979) explained that the adjustment process is a way, in which individual attempts to deal with stress, tension and conflicts and meet his or her needs (Kulshrestha, 1979). While some argues that individual tries to bring changes in his circumstances in order to overcome the difficulties in the realization of needs, Smith (2008) argues that student who are not able to do so or who are not able to identify themselves with any group are the one to suffer from maladjustment like dropouts, suicide, substance abuse and discipline problems (as cited in Wilson, 2009). This study validate the concept that students who participate in co-curricular activities not only do better academically than the students who do not but also build up other aspect of their character like self-confidence, social cooperation and leadership skills, essential for social adjustment. The view is augmented by (Hansen et al, 2003; Jarrett 1998; Rogoff et al.1995) who said that youth learn to cooperate and work in teams when indulging in extracurricular activities (as cited in Grave, 2010).
Adjustment is a dynamic process. Change in people and environment can change their need and consequent the level of adjustment may change as well. The study of ‘Adjustment of boys and girls school level students in Ahmedabad’ found out that there is a significant difference of social adjustment between girls and boys. According to them girls are more able to be socially adjusted than the boys (Vishal and Kaji, 2014).
Yeow, Roger and Sharmaine (2011) conducted a study to examine differences of social adjustment factors between youths living in residential care setting and the non residential care youths. A two way multivariate analysis of variance was performed to investigate age and group differences in social adjustment factors. It was found that residential care youths had a more negative perception of teachers compared to non-residential care youths; residential care youths had a more positive perception of family bonding compared to non-residential care youths. For residential care youths, there was also an increase in self-initiated learning behaviors as age increased. Results indicated that residential care youths were not as maladjusted as initially thought and lent support to the strengths based approach to working with youths. When living in residential care and non-residential have significant bearing on social adjustment, influence of co-curricular activities in social adjustment is inevitable.
Positive outcome of co-curricular activities are identified by many authors. To mention, (Ismat and Saleem, n.d) found out that seventy percent of teacher acknowledge positive effect of co-curricular activities on academic performance; hundred percent teachers says co-curricular activities have positive effect on mental and physical growth. The study also found out that student who participates in co-curricular activities tends to refrain from unhealthy activities than those who do not (Ismat and Saleem, n.d). Because, of its positive influence, those who are more exposed to such activities tend to get more opportunities and experiences in life to overcome any conflict. This view is validated by the findings of (Ismat and Saleem, n.d), in which ninety five percent of teacher stated that students who participate more in co-curricular activities are able to faces changes in society.
The studies that I have mentioned so far further legitimize that co-curricular pursuits are integral to the education program as they underpin the goal of grooming students with life skills like problem solving, creativity, interpersonal skills and self-confidence. Student involvement refers to the quantity and quality of physical and psychological energy that students engage in social life experience. Such involvement can take many forms, such as absorption in academic work, participation in extra-curricular activities, and interaction with faculty and other institutional personnel. Importantly, the more the student‘s involvement in school activities, the greater will be the student‘s learning and personal development (Astin 1999). Numbers of researchers have observed a significant relationship between participation in co-curricular activities and social adjustment with personal attribute of students as the indicator for social adjustment.
As of New Education Policy (1986) of India “productive and creative activities help in harmonious development of 4Hs: Head, Heart, Hand and Health. This remark is worth noting because a holistic education is not merely a certain set rules in books, education is learning to co-exist. Co-existentialism happens when a member of society ―fits into society according to societal norms and standards (Sultana, 2012). To measure social adjustment, researchers have used indicators such as physical health, psychological well-being, behavioral problems, and academic performance. Consequently, the process or terms of an individual‘s adjustment can be expected to change from situation because there is nothing like satisfactory or complete adjustment which can be achieved once and for all time. While some also writes that the concept of adjustment implies a constant interaction between the person and his environment each making demands, on the other hand adjustment is accomplished when the person yields and accepts conditions which are beyond for him to change.
Figure 1: Conceptual Framework of various co-curricular activities and its impact on social adjustment
Independent variable Dependent variable
Cultural activities (dance)
Volunteer ( In or out of school campus)
The figure above shows the association between different co-curricular activities and social adjustment of students. It has social adjustment variables as dependent variables on right which is measured by interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills, defined by Klein and colloegue are numerous skills which portrays goal driven action (as cited in Bedwell et al., n.d). Therefore, Interpersonal skill is measured by various other sub component skills like listening, self awareness, questioning, oral communication, facial expression, assertiveness, reflecting and facilitating. These skills are imperative in examining the overall adjustment of student in later life. Study conducted by Jamal on developing interpersonal skills and professional behaviors through co-curricular activities in king Abdulaziz University, found out that participation in various activities develops interpersonal skills which help them to interact between in the community [Jam12]. On the left are the independent variables sub-divided into activities that enhance interpersonal skill which in determine the social adjustability of a student. These listed activities are the intervening variables that affect the social adjustment of the student. Through these indicators, the finding of the study will be assessed and analyzed.