Monday, June 26, 2017

Competition brings out the best in us

With so many opinions about the removal of SEA and now the removal of the top 100/200 list, I am beginning to wonder if “excellence” and “high achievement” are now curse words.

It would appear that the very thing that all teachers long for in their students has now become unwanted. Highlighting the success and high performance of students is now being rejected by some of the very same educators who are themselves probably aiming for sub-standard performance.

I have read very few supportive statements by educators on behalf of high achievers; it is as if these students are maligned or even hated for their success, and some would have you think that highlighting their achievements would make others feel bad.

Certainly CXC, CAPE and university exams are important. Many work towards first class honours. Should this be discouraged? Should bursaries and scholarships be discouraged? Even though these grants help underprivileged students? Should foreign universities stop offering scholarships to local students for fear of offending the ones who don’t get into top-rated foreign universities to pursue courses which are non-existent here?

It is patently hypocritical of some educators to want to downplay the high performance of any student, when in fact they are trying to bring out the best in their own students. Poppycock at best and horse manure at worst! My insides cry when I see and hear educators shunning success and embracing mediocrity. Every student should aspire to be the best and use the success of others as an inspiration to so do. How parents and teachers instill a healthy sense of competitiveness is more the issue rather than competition itself.

There are many drug cheats in the Olympics. Should we stop this competition? What about spelling bees, mental math contest, quizzes etc. Should all these things be stopped because some teachers don’t like how these competitions make other students feel?

Both teachers and parents need to re-think their attitudes towards competitiveness. This is definitely one factor which brings out the best in all of us. I shudder to think what students would aspire to if they aren’t given a benchmark. Success should always be celebrated. We do it for our sporting heroes and Olympic medallists, why can’t we do it for our academics?

Andy Jangeesingh

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