The Competition Versus Cooperation Education

2.3.1 Egoistic CompetitionCompetition is prevalent in all human cultures around the globe and its origin rests concealed in an undetermined past. Humans encounter competition in their daily life. From sports, business to relationships, competition has eventually become embedded in people’s lives and it is undeniable that between competition and education a close link can be drawn.It is well-recognized that before 2001, the Mauritian educational system has been trigging a ‘rat race’ (Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, 2001) competition since the lower primary years.The national ranking system was the basis which determined which secondary schools children would be admitted to. Some colleges were known as the ‘star’ schools carrying higher prestige and reputation than the ‘less-performing’ schools and this was based mainly on the laureateship system at Higher School Certificate (HSC) level.In 2001, the ranking system was abolished and the regionalization together with the grading system was introduced, which meant that pupils would obtain a school in their locality. Yet, the new practice is far from being dissimilar to the ranking system; instead of ranking each pupil, the ‘A+’ approach operates as a way to admit pupils into the ‘National Colleges’, many of which were formerly deemed to be ‘star schools’.At the end of the seven years of secondary schooling, the best ranked HSC students win scholarships to pursue their tertiary education.1.1 Statement of ProblemThere is the general belief that competition renders learning a significant process, whereby students are allowed to experience feelings of success, discouragement. However, the inclination to compete may breed a tendency towards extreme, unhealthy competition, thus leaving by the wayside crucial aspects of education like overall physical, mental and emotional development, creativity, moral values and the importance of learning how to live as responsible citizens.It has been my observation that in the secondary school where I have been posted for School-Based Experience, for many students, competition may signify motivation or stimulus to learn, but for others, it may represent a causal factor for a number of problems and illnesses. Hence, a key aspect of competition in school is how it impacts on the learning process of students, for whom and how it leads to positive or damaging results.1.2 Aim and Research QuestionsThe main purpose of this study is to investigate on the extent, severity and possible effects of a competitive learning approach on the performance and attitudes of the learners. The following research questions provide the specific focus for the study:For what reasons do learners compete with themselves and with their peers?In what ways does fierce competition to excel or to be the ‘elite’ act as a stress factor and a motivating factor?What are the implications of competition on the frame of mind, health and personality of students?1.3 Rationale of the StudyOne of the main issues in the rationale for this research is the opportunity to study students in their natural environment, interacting with their friends and teachers. The study may help me in the future, to identify factors influencing classroom dynamics, to better understand the relationships that students share and learn how to foster and facilitate a conducive classroom climate, with specific focus on enhancing student well-being, especially the vulnerable. The study would also be useful to me in effectively setting up situations and contexts where they can learn how to combine their individual egoistic strivings with the interest of other people, where they can help others and learn empathy.Chapter BreakdownChapter 1 is the introductory chapter which presents an overview of the competitive nature of Mauritian educational system, the background of the study and the research problem.Chapter 2 summarizes the recurring themes from the literature on competition. Different opinions of influential academics on issues pertaining to competition are elaborated. The chapter also provides an exposé on the benefits that competition carries. The demerits and the hindrances that are derived from the notion of competition are also highlighted.Chapter 3 expounds on the methodology of the research. It provides a detailed account of the different steps undertaken in the inquiry. The limitations of the survey are also included in this chapter.Chapter 4 attempts to present an analysis on the findings of the survey conducted.Chapter 5 spells out the conclusions that have been drawn out of the results of the study.Finally, chapter 6 discusses the results as presented in chapter 5 and puts forwards some suggestions and recommendations.2.0 IntroductionThis chapter presents an overview of the arguments supporting competition. The notion of competition is then discussed in terms of its demerits and the hindrances that are engendered.2.3.2 Competition versus Cooperation2.1 Support for Competition