Education, Social media and Competition

“I arranged a ping pong tournament for kids from my school, in the back yard. So he could interact and be friends with the kids you know. Now he stood there in the corner, he comes to me and says “Dad isn’t it sad, only one of them will win, which is Matt of course. The rest of them will go home feeling miserable”.

That’s the thing whenever we introduce competing into anything, we always make it about winning or losing and too often we forget why we were doing the thing in the first place. I feel it’s not necessary to find out who among a particular group of people is best at something. What exactly do we achieve by doing that?

My sister has always been amazing at academia, got the best grades, scholarships and all. But we never forced her to study or be the best or anything. When her results came back, she aced it, we’re happy for her. Then I went online and there were all these kids on twitter, Facebook and everywhere going please don’t ask my result. Why does it have to be like that? Parents, neighbors, friends make it a point to ask you what happened and if it wasn’t something good. You’re humiliated over and over again.

When I was a kid, I remember getting 80% was brilliant everyone was happy and all, but by just one generation that has jumped to 90% there are even kids scoring almost absolute marks. Somehow, in between all these kids, in my opinion, are losing one, their childhood because all they do is basically study for the next year, and two, the reason why their studying in the first place. Why do we want these children to have an absolute percentile? The kid with the full grades and the one who just passed, usually end up in the same colleges study the same material and too often have the same jobs and no one even asks you what grade did you get back in school. In a couple years, it all stops to matter.

Let’s be honest, why do we study? Is it to gain knowledge? I sure as hell didn’t study to gain knowledge I knew I had to do A,B,C and D to get to E, being the job that I wanted or research that I wanted to do. It was never about gaining knowledge too often it never is. So, if I want to get an X job for which I have to study this and in the end it’s not going to matter what I did 5 years ago. Why deprive these kids today of their childhood and more importantly why make these kids feel superior or inferior than one another.

I believe, a society as modern as ours or even better can be achieved and improved without having to deal with competition and numbers. As we are going forward these numbers are for some reason becoming increasingly important to us. How many twitter followers you have, the number of friends on facebook, the blog hits, the flickr views, the behance likes, so on and so forth. Something that should have been or was supposed to be a platform to interact with loved ones, friends and random strangers even is evolving into another number/popularity game and the interaction is being lost somewhere in between somehow.

We need to start discussing ideas, have conversations try to gain knowledge and well just be honestly happy in a community where numbers don’t matter. A place where we share knowledge and love without having to worry about what number and we are what our ratings are. I really hope we have that society someday


Published by

Fahim Akhter

Fahim is a product manager with over 10 years of experience currently working as product head at MONT5. He focuses on user centric centric design, especially on brand, user experience and revenue product challenges. Prior to joining MONT5, Fahim's has worn multiple hats during his career from game production to product development but the emphasis has always been on creating unparalleled user experience and to help startups to make complex products more engaging. He has worked on diversified portfolio of startups including games, apps, education and e-commerce with product reach of 10M users across the globe. Fahim is a computer science graduate from FAST Islamabad. He volunteers for education and mentors students and startups, to help them grow and drive innovation.

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