The Humans have always considered education and competition important issues, both in the past and in the present. Of course, there have been fluctuations in emphasis and much has changed throughout the centuries. The presence of education in human cultures can be inferred from the oldest historical records, dating back to about 3000 BC. These records indicate that education was at that time already formalized to some extent. That is, our early predecessors were aware of the educational process, which itself was a part of their culture, and certain members were specialized in dealing with educational matters. We do not know when education first appeared in this formalized way, but it is generally assumed that it is much older.
The formal education gave rise to teachers, schools, and out-of-context learning in classes, because this specialization allowed a more efficient transmission of knowledge. Over the centuries entire school systems have been developed with their own educational philosophies. At present, the segregation of primary, secondary, higher with vocational education is predominant, and the educational duties of schools are clearly prescribed by regulations. The informal education, such as happens within the family, still plays an important role. Oscar Wilde once said: "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." As the demands on a society change, its culture changes, and consequently, its educational practices must change also. The process of change is a never-ending, self-propelling cycle. In order to have a stable system, the response to change is must. Aristotle says "Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity". John F. Kennedy, former president of United States of America has said that "a mis-educated child is a child lost".
Like education, some forms of competition also became formalized long ago in human history. That is, competition is bound by rules and should be organized. The role of formal competition has become a fast growing phenomenon. It is not surprising that education and competition should be intimately related. On one hand, it is natural for children to compete and, therefore, understand that competition is put to educational use. On the other hand, competition is found so important in life, that a society especially educates their young to compete.
Marcus Verrius Flaccus, a Roman teacher famous in the late 1st century BC, is credited to have introduced the principle of competition among his students as a pedagogical aid. He awarded attractive books as prizes. The Italian scholar Battista Guarino (1434–1513) writes in his account of proper educational techniques, that teachers should refrain from physically punishing pupils, and that students are stimulated best by competition, which can be intensified by pairing them off. The thinkers on Education do not agree on whether competitive desires should be encouraged or constrained. One theory claims that, since competition is part of every culture and since education should transmit culture, it is necessary to incorporate competition into education to help children to get used to it in later life.
I believe that the culture of competition groomed among our youth of the valley can bring cataclysmic changes in our social set up. We need excellence but excellence is a not an end in itself but a process, so is education which has no centrifugal limits and is a persistent process of creativity, innovation and inspiration. In the present world, there are various challenges of Economy, Science and Technology. Cataclysmic changes are taking place in social dynamism all over the world. The only way to address these challenges is to invest in educational technology and research, so that we can impart quality education. If we study the developmental gap between the east and the west, it is primarily in advancement in Science and Technology where now the artificial intelligence is taking the pivotal role.
We are a nation of nearly 1.crore of people, with a huge number of youth. Nature has blessed us with the human capital, resources, bounties and blessings. We have the capacity and capability to be one of the leading nations of the world provided we adhere to three "D" postulates, Duty, Devotion and Discipline. Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has said that ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful resource on the earth, above the earth and under the earth. He was of the view that we should allow our young generation to dream and facilitate them to translate their dreams into reality. There should be a great vision, because without vision, nation dies. For a nation to grow, the youth are the catalysts of change. They are the assets of our family, society, country and the world. We have to believe firmly that nothing is impossible provided we choose the right path and determine our goal in a realistic manner. The Nobel laureate Economist, Prof. Amartiya Sen has consistently argued that for human welfare, we need to invest more in social schemes and predominantly, in health and Education. Healthy mind, healthy body and educated humans can enable us to get rid of poverty, illiteracy and diseases.
There is an onerous duty on each of us to contribute in the positive social change, where equality, fraternity and optimism in the future would be the cardinal principles. Where, justice, fairness and transparency would be institutionalized. Where the benefits of development reach to the poor and marginalized. Where, freedom of thought and tolerance for dissent gets space. This is only possible when we imbibe the values of citizenship in ourselves for which meaningful and socially relevant education will play a dominant role.
All is possible If we follow the changing trend of the world.
(Excerpts of the speech at SKICC on 30th September 2018 during NEESF award ceremony function for meritorious and talented students of the state.)