June 2, 2023

Academic competitions are integral part of the curriculum to provide opportunities for learners to showcase their skills and talents in different disciplines they acquired inside the classroom.
The significant impacts of co-curricular activities prompted the Department of Education to adopt strategies to conduct the pandemic versions of co-curricular activities, which include athletics or sports activities, festival of talents, math and science fairs, journalism, and other events conducted in the school, division, regional, and national levels.
Literature proves that participation in co-curricular activities plays a key role in students’ academic success and contributes to the attainment of a bachelor’s degree. Students realize the importance of developing overall competencies by joining co-curricular activities and working collaboratively with their student-peers on academic work in order to gain hands-on experience.
Competitions are forms of holistic assessment of learning. Holistic means that learners put into practice the values they acquired through their interactions with other people during the conduct of competitions.
The goal of co-curricular activities in our country remains a challenge. Through my experiences and observations, school competitions are not actually conducted for assessment but for comparison where the objective of most participants together with the coach or trainer is to win rather than to learn.
Arguments, complaints, and protests due to unfair judgment, falsified documents, and other forms of illegalities are common in every competition. Most of the time, competitive activities for students will cause dismay, hatred, and anger for competitors instead of being contented for the learning acquired and also for winning new friends.
Our Philippine scenario supports the findings of Malina, R.M., (2020) that “There are issues such as high school programs that generally emphasize competition and program success rather than developing skills for the next level of athletic competition.”
I appreciate one detergent commercial advertisement, which for me is a perfect portrayal of sportsmanship. It shows a scenario where a runner disregarded his opportunity to win to rescue his opponent who was injured, and assisted him so that they both reached the finish line. This is how good values should be portrayed in real life.
In the 2019 Southeast Asian Games we hosted, Filipino surfer Roger Casogay was honored for rescuing his Indonesian rival Arip Nurhidayat who got pounded by triple overhead bomb waves after his surfboard leash broke in the middle of the competition in La Union Beach.
As an assessment of learning, we want to see our student-contestants demonstrate the positive values along with the knowledge and skills required by their contest-events. For example, in times of emergencies such as injury, we expect a learner-contestant to prioritize helping the victim over winning the game or contest. At the end of each game, teacher-coaches and trainers should process the activity by asking what they learned from the game or competition.
There is still hope to witness co-curricular competitions conducted by DepEd without a jury of appeals because there will be no longer complaints or protest due to illegalities. Rather, after every competition, we see happy faces among the participants, coaches, and other officials for having acquired and imparted knowledge, skills, and values. (CLEMENTE D. BANDAO, JR.)