January 2, 2009

COMPETITION IN EDUCATION

Posted in Economics, Education, Philosophy tagged , , , , , , , at 2:15 am by randallbutisingh

COMPETITION IN EDUCATION

I heard of the talk of introducing competition in education by the new Barack Obama administration. As a teacher for over forty years, I deem the introduction of competition in education to be erroneous and inconsistent with the main aims and objectives of Education, as it will surely make room for more cheating and dishonesty. We are seeing it daily in the corruption of individuals from top to bottom, The chief aim of Education is character building in which more emphasis must be given to the effort the child makes rather than in the results. In character building results do not matter, it is the way in which one struggles that matters. To try to educate without the emphasis on character building is like sowing a field with weeds rather than cultivated vegetation. It is far better to have a small cultivated patch than acres of rank weeds.

 Another important fact is that all children are not equally endowed, physically or mentally so competition would be a discouragement rather than a help, for the better child would deem to be the one who has more ability rather the one who has made the most effort.

 We have seen too often, and history has proved that in the achievements of our great men that they were not those who made the best grades in school. Take for example Einstein, perhaps the greatest of all scientists, the Wright brothers, inventor of the airplane, George Eastman, founder of the Kodak Company, Richard Branson, billionaire British businessman, founder of Virgin Airways and Virgin Music and other successful companies, Thomas Sowell, economist, and many others who were all dropouts from high school. There are also even more famous dropouts from College, like Bill Gates of Microsoft and Michael Dell of Dell Computers. This does not mean that others should not pursue the highest academic level, providing that it is consistent with the true aim of Education. So as we move into the future with hope and optimism.

 Let us be wary of how we select our teachers. There should be training programmes for them by the best teacher educators who value character more than ability, for the present crop of teachers are products of the system that now obtains. It should always be remembered that the teacher is the most important person in the whole civilized community as he or she is responsible for the molding of the character of the nation. Today, the teacher has to be even more aware of technological change and the need for continuous learning so that new ideas can be applied in teaching methods to make Education more relevant to today’s tech savvy kids.

 Before the pupil reaches high school, his bent should be discovered and there should be suitable institutions of learning to accommodate him, whether it is in the arts, agriculture, the technical or mechanical, or whatever field he will excel in. True education is the key to success and more of the resources of the country should be allocated to it. “The pen is mightier than the sword” It is more effective in fighting an enemy than weapons of warfare.

 An educated person is one who is lofty in his thinking, is honest, trustworthy, humble, unprejudiced, a willing helper, loves beauty and goodness, and who can take care of his body, the vehicle which serves him every moment. Show me a potbellied professor and I will show you a man who is learned but not educated. Teaching has to be looked upon as a vocation and be done with love and caring attention paid to the unique capabilities of each student.

 How unfair it is for politicians to use the taxpayers’ money to pile up weapons of destruction rather than in productive educational and other important needs of the nation. Do you know that for the price of one B2 bomber (1.5 billions), the salaries of 56 thousand teachers and 125 thousand health care workers could be paid?  Today’s rapidly changing world needs educated and informed adults; therefore we need adult education as well, as the pupils spend most of their time at home. Parents have to understand that the ideal is not to make straight A’s in school as this is a ridiculous American possibility. The main aim should be to build a hardworking, trustworthy, honest citizen, whatever his/her mental capacity, who will be able and willing to build a united nation of hard working and conscientious individuals who can bring about peace and prosperity by making friends rather than destroying enemies.

 Fellow Americans, wake up! Government by the people means that your voice must be heard. The American public is the least informed and misinformed of any advanced nation. This has to change if the country is to remain strong and the leading positive example of governance for people around the world. This change has to start with a comprehensive education policy for both children and adults.

 – Randall Butisingh

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