Monday, March 03, 2008

Fact: schools operate on limited resources. It would simply be fantabulous if schools could offer every co-curricula activity (CCA) under the sun, from Aiki-do to Zookeeping, but how can a school apportion its annual budget to keep every activity functioning? Should it be fair and allocate an equivalent amount of cash to every CCA? That'll cater to lots of interests, of course, but a pie can only be sliced so thin before each slice becomes meaningless.

Every CCA has its demands: equipment, attire, and training, for example -- none of which comes cheap. And contrary to popular belief, even schools are not exempt from paying for such, despite our lofty purpose of Educating the Young. So yes, unfortunately schools are also subject to the laws of supply and demand when it comes to allocating resources.

It's simple economics. Supplies and resources get channeled to where demand is highest. How do we determine how much demand there is for a CCA? The question goes back to the students: how badly do you want it? Will you put yourselves on the line, train hard every day, learn the skills to improve yourselves one game at a time, and leave a legacy that will inspire your juniors to press on with your passion once you've advanced to a new division? These are the CCAs that deserve the support of the school which will gladly pay to keep such passion alive year after year. These are the types of CCAs that companies willingly sponsor because they embody the values that the sponsors wish to be associated with. Such CCAs never run out of resources.

What of the other students who may have the interest, but lack the will rise to the top of their game? Or those who just want to play "for fun" not for glory? To these students, honestly, what do they need the school's resources for? There's no point for the school to provide them with professional grade equipment and training if they're just looking forward to a private game of tiddlywinks after class. If they're not embarrassed, I would be.

If students really want to play for fun, they can buy their own cheap stuff, improvise their own play space, organize their own games and play till their hearts' content. That's fun. Nearly any activity can be had with the minimum of resources and a modicum of ingenuity without having to waste precious resources if fun is all you want out of it.

Some people think schools are like Santa Claus, happily distributing toys to all the good little boys and girls. Get real. School is limited, more like a toy box. It may contain great toys or crappy, broken toys, mostly a mix of both. And yet, it doesn't matter because whatever toy in whatever condition you pull out of the box, a real kid will still be able to have fun with it. Perhaps our kids have forgotten how to be kids?

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