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The Indian education system is the best case study if one wants to know what happens if there’s too less pie or if there are too many people after the pie. Our nation boasts one of the most unequal division of resources, especially in the education department. I can count on one hand the universities/schools in India that offer training that even stand a chance at the international level.

Given the status quo, it is unsurprising that the lakhs of students have had to get down and crawl their way towards quality education. Part of the reason for the unreasonable cut throat competition is the sheer number of people after the suitably undersized pie. Companies and univesities have limited capacities and only the ones who have mastered the art of war stand a chance of breaking into their secluded walls.

Today, this is exactly how the education system is affecting the students in India. We have been conditioned to compete at every level. Well, I won’t deny that this attitude might help you sharpen your skills. But one should not go beyond the boundaries and do unthinkable things. There’s competition everywhere—right from poetry reciting in KG to CGPA exams in engineering.

The idea that one has to fight for what one desires against whatever odds there may be, the idea of “us versus them” has a deep seated place in our psyche. While being competitive is a good thing, it’s easy to overdose.

Parents who failed to meet their goals in their younger days want to fill that void through their child. And, if they see that their children are shattering their expectations, then they put a lot of pressure on them. Also, when you win a competition of any form, the expectations of people surrounding you suddenly increase. In this scenario, students become nervous about their next step as they are under scrutiny all the time. Over time, an unquenchable desire to stand out and out do one’s peers gets ingrained into one’s personality.

You lose sight of long term goals and develop a selfish attitude towards every minute detail in life. You develop a querulous personality and feel the need to fight for and acquire whatever you can. You loose sight of the fact there is strength in unity and working together is usually the better choice.

Thanks to the brainless competition, teachers often reward only the academic stars. Any form of creativity is discouraged, and risk taking is mocked. Our syllabus needs to nurture creativity, problem-solving, valuable original research and innovation. Getting good marks by memorizing does not create winners, but demotivates students who get weak score.

Schools promote horrible and cut-throat competition and make students feel incompetent. So, parents land up enrolling their children into coaching classes that make the process of education scarier. The pressure of being the best, the brightest and the smartest increases the stress.

There has been a substantial increase in the number of cardiac patients due to the pressure of always winning. Things like poor nutrition, high blood pressure, heavy alcohol consumption and physical inactivity only make the situation worse. It is crucial to educate college students about heart disease prevention and increase awareness.

This is a very troubling drawback of our poorly structured education system. It is a system that promotes peer to peer competition, rather than team work and one that accepts that the need of the one outweighs the need of the many. Institutions are busy injecting the syllabus and nothing else. It’s high time we make the process less harsh and encourage innocence, cultural understanding, civic sense and kindness.We need to pick this apart from its very roots, as the heart of the problem lies in the very philosophy behind the flimsy structure of our education system.

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