The term curriculum refers to the programme of study in various academic subjects (e.g Maths, English, History, Science, Spanish) followed by students at various levels of education. The school or college's teaching staff are employed to teach this curriculum, and students are periodically assessed (e.g. by exams and term papers) in their progress in each curriculum subject. As they grow older, students' achievements in their curriculum subjects are seen as important in helping them get into a good university or college, and to find a good job when they leave education. Depending on which country you are in, schools and colleges may also be held accountable for their students' results in the curriculum subjects.
The academic curriculum has never been all that schools and colleges offer to their students. Often a range of other classes, clubs and activities is available to students, sometimes in lessons but more often in the lunch break or after school. These are referred to as extra-curricular activities and they are mostly voluntary for students. Examples would include sports, musical activities, debate, Model United Nations, community service, religious study groups, charitable fundraising, Young Enterprise projects, military cadet activities, drama, science clubs, and hobbies such as gardening, crafts, cookery and dance. Because they are not examined in the same way that the academic curriculum is, and because most of them take place outside lessons, such activities have less status in education than the main curriculum. However, they are often held to be very important to the wider education of young men and women. This topic examines whether the extra-curriculum should be given more importance in schools and colleges