Influence of Competitive Co-Curricular Activities on Self Concept, Deviant Behaviour and Academic Performance among Secondary School Students in Central Region, Kenya
Kamau, Agnes Wanjiku
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Co-curricular activities enhance attainment of the curriculum goals and objectives. A number of researchers have established positive effects of participation in co-curricular activities on student academic achievement and social aspects. Other studies have shown that participation in co-curricular activities is detrimental to academic performance. In cognizance of this discrepancy, the current study based on Zero-sum model and Developmental theory, sought to examine the effects of engagement in competitive co-curricular activities (Sports, Music and Drama) on the self-concept, deviant behaviour and academic performance of secondary school students in Central Region, Kenya. The study objectives were to determine whether the effects were dependent on type of school, year of study, socio-economic background and gender of the students. Alongside the objectives, an Ex-post Facto design formulated hypotheses to test the variables under study. The independent variable was participation or non-participation in co-curricular activities; and the dependent variables were self-concept, deviant behaviour and academic performance. The study population comprised of all Forms 1, 2, 3 and 4 students in public secondary schools, who qualified for regional championships in the Central region, Kenya. The total sample size comprised 1,408 participants. Purposive sampling was used to identify participants in this matched-pair designed study. The initial 704 ‘participation’ participants, comprising 128 from sports, 240 from drama and 336 from music were identified with the help of respective teachers. Subsequently, each of these identified a matching friend to constitute the group of 704 non-competing participants. . Questionnaires and document analysis provided data for the study. The data collected was quantitative in nature and was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics included percentages, means, frequency counts, and standard deviations; whereas, inferential statistics included Independent t-test, Two-way ANOVA, Multiple Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) and Post hoc test of Tukey’s HSD. All statistical tests were carried out at p<0.05 level of significance. The study found that participation in co-curricular activities had a positive impact on students’ self-concept (957) <0.001, p<0.001, deviant behaviour (958) <0.001, p<0.001 and academic performance, t (919) =0.023, p<0.001. Participants in co-curricular activities had higher self-concept, better academic performance and rarely engaged in deviant behaviour as compared to non-participants. The study therefore, recommends schools’ encouragement of student participation not only in sport, drama and music, but also in alternatives such as debating, science, , and religious clubs in the schools. Such participation help them develop self-confidence, gain skills for solving own problems, learn to work as a team, learn leadership skills and help avoid engagement in risky behaviour. The study also suggests that school administrators organize seminars and fora for all school stakeholders to disseminate the powerful effect of involvement in co-curricular activities on students’ educational, self-concept and behaviour outcomes. This study further recommends the replication of the current study in primary schools and universities in Kenya. Such replication would broaden and deepen the body of knowledge concerning the advantages or disadvantages of students’ involvement in co-curricular activities, especially with regard to students’ self-concept, deviance behaviour and academic performance.