Currently, all secondary school students in Malaysia are required to take part in co-curriculum activities. Marks will be given for co-curriculum activities and 10% of the marks will be taken into consideration for the application of local universities and colleges. There are 3 categories of co-curriculum activities, that is Uniform Units, Clubs & Societies, and Sports & Games. Students are told that it is compulsory for them to take part in all the three categories, because the co-curriculum marks includes all the 3 categories. However, the truth is that many students do not know is that only the marks of 2 of the 3 categories will be counted. The marks will be counted from the 2 categories that has the highest marks, while the category with the lowest marks will be ignored. So, in other words, we only need to take part in 2 categories.
Among the 3 categories, I think that every one should take part in Clubs & Societies and Sports & Games, but not Uniform Units. The reason is that there are many benefits to take part in Clubs & Societies and Sports & Games. However, taking part in Uniform Units brings more disadvantages than advantages. The advantages of taking part in Clubs & Societies is that it improves your skills in the particular subject or hobby, gives you valuable experiences, helps develop leadership, trains you to be a responsible person and encourages cooperation. The advantages of taking part in Sports & Games is that it makes you healthy, improves your skills in the particular sports, gives you valuable experiences, helps develop leadership and encourages cooperation. However, for Uniform Units, there are many disadvantages. These are the disadvantages of taking part in Uniform Units.
First of all, it is a waste of time to take part in Uniform Units. For Clubs & Societies and Sports & Games, the minimum number of activities is 12 per year. But for Uniform Units, the minimum number of activities is 18 per year. Also, the duration of each activity is 2 hours for Clubs & Societies and Sports & Games. But, the duration of each activity is 4 hours 30 minutes for Uniform Units. So, you need to attend more activities if you take part in Uniform Units. Taking part in too much co-curriculum activities is no good. The reason is you tend to neglect your studies. Studying is very important for students, especially those who are sitting for PMR or SPM. You will also have less time to carry out leisure activities and less time to spend with families. You may also feel tired, especially if you have many tuition classes and homework. Many students also do not know how to plan their time wisely.
Besides, you will also feel stressed. There are many activities to do when you take part in Uniform Units. For example, marching. You may have to march for several hours non-stop. Usually, you cannot rest unless the leader allows everyone to to so. There are also very strict rules. When you march, you must follow the instructions exactly. If you make a mistake, even a very small mistake, you can be scolded and punished. Some punishments are very harsh and in my opinion it should not be carried out. Also, you will be controlled by the head of the Uniform Unit. Worse is that, the leaders of many Uniform Units are students and not teachers. You will need to follow the instructions of the leader, or you you be punished. You cannot refuse to do what you are asked to do by the leader, even if it is something that you need not do or a very difficult task. So, you tend to be unhappy with the leader but unable to do anything against it. Some leaders also misuse their power and rights when they instruct or punish members. Actually, since the leaders are students, they are considered equal-standing with other members. So, they do not have the right to instruct or punish members.
In addition, taking part in Uniform Units affects your studies. Other than weekly activities during weekends, there are also additional activities which takes place during school hours, especially meetings. You will need to miss some classes to take part in it. Missing classes can bring negative effects. Even if you can borrow notes from other friends, it won't be as good as attending the lessons in class. For excellent students, missing a little bit of lessons can mean serious effects. You may not fully understand the particular topic you missed. There are also outside-school activities which can take place for days. In that case, you need to skip school and tuition for days. During that few days, you will miss out a lot. And, surely you will not be doing revision during those few days. These can affect your exam. Remember, academics make up 90% and co-curriculum make up 10%, so you should be quite sure about what is more important.
Moreover, you will burden your parents. When you attend activities, your parents you need to send you to the school or other locations. Most parents at work are quite busy. It will be difficult for them to spare their time. Even if you go yourself without being sent by your parents, you will be taking buses or other public transport. These will cost money. When you register for a Uniform Unit, you have to pay some money such as membership fee and uniforms. When you take part in certain activities like camping, you may need to pay. These fees can be quite expensive. This will bring problems to poor families. If you take part in outside-school activities, your parents can be worried too. I am sure you have seen news such as school bus accidents and student drown in river. The school may not have taken all the safety measures.
Furthermore, sometimes Uniform Units may be misused by naughty students to group among themselves. In some schools where the students are not disciplined, 'geng' activities are common. Some students may take a Uniform Unit as a 'geng'. Each 'geng' will take part in a particular Uniform Unit. As a result, many members of the Uniform Unit are members of a particular 'geng'. When other students take part in that Uniform Unit, they may be asked to join that 'geng'. If they join the 'geng', they will be negatively affected. They may follow that 'geng' to carry out immoral activities. This will affect their studies and even destroy their future. If they do not join the 'geng', they may be bullied. The 'geng' members may give them unreasonable instructions and punishments. Some naughty students may have good achievements in that Uniform Unit such as winning competitions. Therefore, they may be given high positions or even become leaders of the Uniform Unit. They may look low on other members. They may also bully other members.
Many say that taking part in Uniform Units can develop discipline, but I disagree with that. In Uniform Units, discipline is often seen as 'following rules and instructions'. Uniform Units introduce many rules for their members and punish members who disobey rules and instructions. The members obeyed the rules and instructions just because they are afraid of the punishments, and therefore they are considered as 'disciplined'. Well, is that really what discipline is? No. Take an example. A student often smokes and plays truant (ponteng sekolah), but he obeys all the rules while taking part in Uniform Units because he doesn't want to be punished. Can he be considered a disciplined student? So, obviously taking part in Uniform Units cannot develop true discipline. A truly disciplined person is someone who always does the right thing and is true from his/her heart. True discipline can only be developed by parents, and they have to begin when their children is still small. Moral and religious education (didikan moral dan agama) are also needed to develop true discipline. Uniform Units are not required to develop discipline.
Many people also say that we can learn new skills by taking part in Uniform Unit. In my opinion, we cannot really learn something by taking part in Uniform Units. Although the members may be learning a skill practically when they take part in Uniform Units, but the learning method is not effective. Usually, the leader will demonstrate in front of everyone, while every member watches the leader. A few members may be given the chance to do it, while others can only watch without doing it. Can we really learn something by just watching and not doing anything? Also, you must have interest in something before you can learn and understand it. Surely not all members of the Uniform Unit are interested in it. So, there is no use to learn it. If you are interested in learning something, there are other better ways to learn it. You can learn it first theoretically by reading or searching on the Internet, and then practically by doing it yourself. This is surely more effective than learning it in Uniform Units. The skills that you can learn in Uniform Units is also limited. You can learn only learn a few skills in a year. So, Uniform Units is not a good way to learn new skills.
In conclusion, there are many disadvantages to take part in Uniform Units. I never took part in Uniform Units. I only took part in Clubs & Societies and Sports & Games. If you are taking part in Uniform Units but you are not interested or unhappy with it, then you should not hesitate to stop taking part. As long as you take part in Clubs & Societies and Sports & Games, your co-curriculum marks won't be affected. If you are really interested in taking part in Uniform Units, I am not saying you cannot do so. You can take part in Uniform Units. But, you must know how to plan your time wisely. You must never neglect your studies. Also, if you are given unreasonable instructions or punishments by the leader, you should not accept it. Don't be afraid to go against the leader, since the leader is just a student like you. Do not join any 'geng' if there is any in the Uniform Unit. If you are a leader, you should not misuse your rights and always give only instructions and punishments that are reasonable. At last, I wish to apologize if I have insulted anyone in this article.