Is competition an effective part of the education process?

One might say that this question is not one to be debated. However, the completion of an education process gravely depends on the type of competition—is it healthy or not?

Some say, yes—competition is a necessary element to the education system. Healthy competition being induced in the way students study and how the teachers teach would create excellent results. The right kind of competition will motivate the students into doing the best that they can by pushing each other to higher levels. When a student sees a prize at the end of the tunnel, it makes the race much more valuable. So if schools are to reward students for outstanding performances, what is to stop them from continuing to do so?

A competitive classroom environment will trigger bright and innovative ideas from the students. A student will definitely feel the need to contribute to a classroom session or a lesson if his/her peers are doing the same. This kind of peer pressure works for the development of knowledge.

Another advantageous aspect about healthy competition is that students become enthusiastic about their studies. They will have to prove their skills amongst each other, prompting them to learn from each other and acquire more skills.

Competition, practiced in the right way, will boost a hard work ethic amongst the students. Seeing that they need to stay ahead of the race, they will run against the clock to finish a task, thus improving their performance. Healthy rivalry will prepare them for the outside competitive world where everyone is fighting to prove their worth.

Nevertheless, competition can only be effective if it is building students, not tearing them down.

Unhealthy competition can easily affect the morale and confidence of the students. For example, some students feel insecure about their performance, and are not given any inspiration by their fellow students, they instead step on each another while on the ground.

The wrong kind of competition can easily cause stress and depression amongst students. Students will spend a lot of time trying to stay at the top, forgetting to do essential things, like take care of themselves health-wise. Thus, not achieving a set goal might send them into a mental state that could lower their grades.

At times when students are consumed by another classmate taking their position, it becomes their only agenda. They forget that the most important thing is to help and support each other to attain a similar goal, which is academic excellence.

There is a popular saying that goes “survival is for the fittest”, however, if students apply teamwork to that saying, everyone will eventually be on the same level and achieve goals as a team, which is more effective.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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