Tue. Jun 25th, 2024
Tayib Jan Co-founder & Managing Editor

According to Gulf News a few days ago three female students in Alexandria -based school have been arrested for poisoning their classmate for scoring higher marks in exams, local media reported. It means that the competition in education is at its peak. To overcome such issues, Singapore rubbished the traditional ranking of students in the primary and secondary levels in the year 2018. It means that there will be no information about, class, minimum and maximum marks, failing and passing marks, subject, grade, and overall total marks shown on the students’ result cards. They decided to use “Qualitative Descriptors”, instead. Imagine, if we are to apply a similar formula in the Pakistani education system, what will be the result? Do you think parents will still send their children to school? I am afraid they will not.  Then why do we send our children to school? The answer to this question is very apparent, we send them to compete. We send them to get 1st, 2nd, or at least 3rd position, anything below that is undesirable. We send them to beat other children, in the class, in the family, in the neighborhood, in the community, in the district, in the province, in the country, and the world. Is it the right way to go about it? What are the implications of such competitions on the children, and society?

Some people might argue that competition is positive, I tend to agree with them, but it is positive when someone has a choice. Students are put into the competition as we put roosters, camels, and dogs, into fights. These competitors do not have a choice, they are put there to satisfy the owner’s pride. We do almost a similar thing with our children, to show other people that our children are better than other children. There is a complete mismatch between what the children want to do and what their parents want them to be. This unjustified expectation of the parents compels the children to use unfair means and go to any extend to score best marks in the examination. This expectation has given rise to rote memorization, because the assessment system also supports how much you remember, instead of how much you know, and, can do.

We have reached a point in time where even a layman knows that education is a social process.  Knowledge is socially constructed which means, children, learn best when they collaborate with other children. Everyone has a different intelligence, need, and priority.  The task of the education system is to polish and nurture further, what is already in them. Students learn better when they are encouraged to learn at their own pace, abilities, and skills. Some children, at a certain point, can be lagging behind other children but can nimble in later life to reach their full potentials.

It is advised to the parents, to see their children as human beings with emotions, priorities, and choices. They are not grade scoring machines. It is the learning and the ability to do something that will help them to progress, not the grades. The world’s biggest companies have stopped demanding degrees they look for competencies. Next time when you come across a child who scores higher marks does not get impressed because that is not a sure sign that the child will succeed in life. Do not compare your child with anyone in this world, they are one of a kind. Provide a non-competitive, nonthreatening, encouraging, and caring social environment for them to thrive. Encourage them to be vigilant of the era in which they are born, and learn to live in an everchanging, complex, and interdependent world.

By Tayib Jan

The writer is an educationalist, working as the head of a private teacher training institute. He can be reached at tayib.bohor@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Children Should be Taught to Learn not to Compete”
  1. that’s true. in the race to be better than others, children do not learn or grasp anything other than leaving behind the people they are taught as their opponents. Which I believe is one of the primary causes of our social issues and lack of moral ethics in the construct.

  2. Well written….. It’s the voice almost each and every individual…. If we have started speaking about it….. One day must come with better solutions of this issue.

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