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In Singapore, a co-curricular activity (CCA), previously known as an extracurricular activity (ECA), is a non-academic activity that all students must undertake as part of their education.
Students can choose from 4 categories: clubs and societies, physical sports, uniformed groups, and visual and performing arts. They may also start their own activities with the school's approval. Anyone offering enrichment activities to schools must be registered with the MOE.
The idea behind extracurricular activity is to broaden the child's experience and encourage the development of civic and personal values.
CCA choices vary widely from school to school, although schools at each education level are required to conform to national standards prescribed for that level. Co-curricular activities includes all those activities which needs mind, heart and hand coordination. Such activities include indoor or outdoor games, solving puzzles, collages, drawing, dancing, singing, mimicry, knitting, cooking and so on. The range of CCA choices available increases at each education level.
CCA is strongly encouraged in the primary and post-secondary education level. It is however compulsory in secondary education level.
In secondary schools, CCAs are treated more seriously. Students are required to pick at least one Core CCA to join at Secondary One. Belonging to a Core CCA is compulsory, and the students may choose a second CCA if they wish. If the student excels and achieves results in their CCA, 1 to 2 'O' Level points are removed from the examination aggregate (a lower aggregate indicates better marks) at the end of the fourth/fifth year. Although the marks are few, it is believed by many that they may make a difference when the students are considered for the most popular post-secondary educational institutions. For example, one minimum prerequisite for admission to the Raffles Institution at Year Five, via the 'O' Levels, is an already perfect score with the maximum of 4 points removed.
The activities available as CCA choices can be divided into 4 key categories:
CCAs are held outside of curriculum hours and the activities partaken depend on the nature of the particular CCA. For example, uniformed groups do foot drills and team-building exercises.
Many alumni return to their alma mater after graduation to help impart what they have learned to their juniors. Some do so within a formal framework, such within the uniformed groups (where ex-cadets are appointed as cadet officers) or as part of the Voluntary Adult Leader scheme (for those above age 20). Others do so on a casual basis.
Many CCA-related competitions are held in Singapore, creating a competitive environment which provide CCA groups an objective to work towards.
The Ministry of Education organises competitions for competitive sports at the zonal and national level, respectively the yearly Zonal and National Schools Competitions. MOE also organises the biennial Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) for the Aesthetics CCAs.
Note that Band may either count as a uniformed group or a performing arts group.
In some schools, instead of separate clubs for Language, Debate and Drama (and even Culture), these domains are grouped under the heading of Language Debate and Drama Societies, an example of which is the English Literary Drama and Debate Society (ELDDS).