Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Is the growing level of competition good for youth? IAS Essay

Is the growing level of competition good for youth? IAS Essay

Is the growing level of competition good for youth?
These days, very often, we come across news like CBSE 10 class topper scored 99.4 % in board exams. Another headline quotes girls out shine boys in 2018 board results and third headline says a girl committed suicide in Kota campus out of stress and depression due to high competition. Media highlights such information and people love to read about it, discuss it and quote it to their friends, colleagues, children, peers, students. This unknowingly is creating fiasco in the system.

Such instances draw our attention to analyze growth of competition in India. Competition is good unless it becomes the factor that takes away the charm of being successful. Competition is meant to give a push to goal oriented efforts. But if it is based on the agenda of ownership, overpowering others by sacrificing values or using unfair means, then it becomes a curse. 

In the given context, let's first understand the term competition perceived by youth. Competition in its literal sense is on the flipside of cooperation. It comes into existence when two or more individuals’ parties, communities, groups etc strive for a goal which is desired individually. This gives birth to conflicts, violation of natural laws and improper use of resources and exploitation of cooperation, kindness and discussion. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms and co-exists in the same environment. If accepted in right spirit, competition can become a great source of motivation, growth and progress.

Competition among youth has a global existence, Indian youth being no exception. In India, the race begins when a sixteen year old student writes a board exam for the first time. The race begins its momentum when he seeks admission in an institute for a degree and then fights hard to make his dream job over the crowd of rejected applicants. From good marks to good job and a never ending quest for social recognition, the process looks like a never ending fight.

As per stats, around 4 lakh school pass outs apply for some thousand seats in a handful of renowned institutions across the country. This ensures cut throat competition every year. Our time is rightly termed as an era of ever increasing cutoffs, shrinking the reach of human endeavor to absolute perfection. Delhi University 2018 cut offs range is in 99%. Few years back, scoring 99% wasn’t even close to anybody’s dreams. Such extremities give birth to negative competition. It encourages the prevalence of culture where only perfection is acceptable.

Competition and herd mentality are two sides of the same coin. With the mentality of having boys to bend towards engineering and girls towards medical profession, we are every inch a part of rat race. This explains best the pathway of youth. Instead of doing a rationalized analysis of young school children, they are either forced or manipulated to comply by the norms set by the society. They jump into the rat race and strive to win, keeping their own aspirations and inclinations at bay. 

It is saddening that children, at this tender age, do not have any time to play, enjoy and share their good or bad experiences. The programmed robotic life of school, home work, snap tests, exams leaves them emotionally weak. When, for higher studies, these boys and girls move out of their home towns, they have no support system. They get exposed to the external world. External world of pressure, competition and comparison strikes them hard. 

The situation becomes grim, when this immense pressure due to negative competition gives birth to depression among students. Unfortunately, in the absence of support system, some young minds succumb to enormous pressure and then take extreme step. Many families put everything at stake just to make their child engineer or doctor and in this rat race; they become totally unconcerned about what their child wants to be. 

In a recent suicide in Kota, a young girl in her suicide note has accused her mother of manipulating her as a child into liking Science. She warned her against doing the same with her younger sister. It is disheartening to see bright youth of India ending up as a scapegoat to the aspirations and expectations of their parents and peers. 

When you stretch rubber band beyond a limit, it is bound to have repercussions. Onus lies on the current education system of the country Indian Education system also defines success and failure in terms of marks and degrees. The purpose of education is not to produce citizens with 100% marks who are unable to handle social and emotional pressure. If the youth of the country fails to handy what life offers, then the entire purpose of education falls flat. The purpose of education is to provide a platform to a child to find his inner voice. Competition and corruption has diverted the objective. 

Private institutions, which are held high in providing quality education to youth, charge exorbitant fee from them. Exploitation of youth through different means like high fee, poor quality of staff at lower salary, large class sizes and lack of sufficient resources is a common sight in such institutes. In last decade, country has seen such institutes mushrooming in various regions of the country. These institutes are in constant race to attract maximum number of youngsters. Due to this money making business, they adopt false and corrupt means. In the recent an Indian state 12 class result fiasco, a college student, who topped in science and arts streams of state Board Class 12, failed to answer basic questions regarding their subjects on camera. This has exposed the stark reality and corruption prevailing in the system.

There is a need to look at competition from a different angle. True spirit of competition is to bring the best out of an individual. This spirit helps an individual to get better out of the pressure. It also facilitates an individual to channelize his energies in right direction and motivates him to innovate. It assists the individual to develop an attitude of responsibility towards his actions. It means that healthy competition in its approach is competition with self. One of the World's most successful persons till date holds the same view. 

Bill Gates says, "I am not in competition with anyone but myself. My goal is to improve myself continuously". 

There is a huge difference between what is positive or a healthy competition and a negative competition. There is a need to streamline the goals of youth towards their interest, instead of, conventionally following what others are doing or what is high paying job for them. In order to do so, the fundamental choices of the students should be strengthened .Schools must carry a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats) for each student. Personality development programs should be organized to find out where the potential caliber of children can be harnessed optimally. 

One a flipside, the youth of today must be taught that competition alone is not the only condition for success, it is necessary but not end for excellence. Success stories of people who broke stereotypes and carved out a niche of their own, people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Dhirubhai Ambani, etc. must be included in their curriculum. 

Competition exists in both forms - healthy and unhealthy. Youth of our country needs to recognize the range of competitive spirit to which one should stick. Youth is a valuable asset of the country. Today, with 356 million, that is 10-24 year-olds, India has the world's largest youth population. This makes India a land of opportunities, resulting in countries like US coming forward to invest in the country which has great potential to make a huge difference. In order to bring revolutionary changes on the global platform, youth of our country must be prepared to understand true spirit of competition. This is the time to explore the unexplored, break the conventional setup and make your own way to the success. Be your own competitor and build target to beat it at every single opportunity. If perceived in its true spirit, competition is good for the youth of the country. 

"Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition in having put forth the best within you."
 - Henry j Kaiser



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