Competition and Comparison: Two Deadly Poisons in Education


Globally, the condition of education is very apprehensive. Education turns into dehumanization process, where people lose their humanity precisely by learning to develop themselves. This is the biggest irony of education in the 21st century. No wonder if Noam Chomsky, one of the world's greatest thinkers today, writes in his book Class Warfare, that education actually kills intelligence, moral sensitivity and happiness which are the three main characteristics of humanity.

Competition and Comparison

Let's look at the current situation of global education. In all countries, two principles of education are applied, without a critical attitude, competition and comparison. Competition is considered a sacred principle that cannot be denied. Children are encouraged to compete to be the best of their friends, if necessary in the expense of happiness and natural intelligence that they have.

Competition becomes a measure at various levels of education. The champion is worshiped like a God. Meanwhile, number two and so on are considered losers who continue to be ignored. Not surprisingly, many children actually lose their joy and natural happiness, because they went to school to get an education.

As a result, children never feel satisfied and happy with themselves. They always feel depressed, in order to fulfill the wishes of their social environment, especially by winning competitions and being the best compared to their friends. Not surprisingly, the suicide rate of school-age children is increasing in various countries. In various countries, the weakness of family support and the increasing burden of education in schools are the main factors, as explained by researchers at The University of Southern Mississippi in a study entitled Student Suicide: A Negative Issue in Higher Education.

There are two things that are the cause. First, education in the world, still uses the way of thinking of the first industrial revolution. In this way of thinking, education is a manufacturing process, like in a manufactory. All ingredients are processed in the same way, and then come out in the same form and quality. Uniformity is the main measure of educational success.

Ken Robinson, in his book entitled Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution's Transforming Education, explain that education which seen as a manufactory actually kills the main element of education itself, creativity. Creativity arises from diversity and difference. It also arise from humanity and happiness which are allowed to grow naturally in education.

Two, education in the 21st century has also been infected by virus of neoliberalism. In this understanding, all elements of life are measured by economic value. Money becomes a God, and all other values ​​are marginalized. As a result, education actually destroy a democratic culture that requires critical thinking and human moral sensitivity, and serves as a servant of market interests.

This is the argument offered by Henry Giroux in his book On Critical Pedagogy. Neoliberalism has entered not only the system of administrative bureaucracy, but also the spirit of education itself. Competition and comparison are seen as something far more valuable than cooperation and the diversity of natural human interests and drives. Those who are excluded are those who are poor, because they cannot afford the opportunity to get quality education, or even get an education at all.

Mental Revolution of Education

Responding to the education poisons above, two things can be done. First, the direction and basic philosophy of education must be changed altogether. Education as a manufactory and education that serves the market interests must be changed from the basic. Then implement critical and humanist education, as formulated by Julian Nida-RĂ¼melin, a German thinker, in his book entitled Philosophie einer humanen Bildung.

Critical education is education that prioritizes questions and analyzes of power relations that exist in society. This analysis then covered with a certain moral sensitivity and sense of humanity, in order to determine the right steps to change the situation. These all then encourage joint action in various forms of social movements to encourage social change towards a more just, democratic and prosperous society.

Two, Jaggi Vasudev's view, in his book Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy, is also important to note. He emphasized, that the first and important things in education is to understand the true identity of humans as universal beings. He stands on par with all creatures that exist in this universe. This is the main core of cosmopolitan education, as also formulated by Stoic thinkers, especially Mark Aurelius in his book entitled Meditations.

Competition and comparison are two deadly poisons in education. Both of them kill education itself, along with the humanity of educators and students. Happiness and spontaneity of life are eliminated on the basis of blind obedience and ambition to be number one.

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