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Is it right for CBSE to promote academic competition among students and schools?
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced Writing Series Competition and invited entries from the students on the inspirational lives of certain noted people of recent times.
"The Board strongly feels that the generation today should also be made aware of the selfless and valiant services of the women and men who have served the nation," pronounces a recent circular sent to the affiliated schools.

The CBSE has invited both on-line and off-line entries from the students on the inspirational life of Sri Pingali Venkayya in English, Hindi or Telugu by 11th August so as to felicitate the winners on 14th August in Delhi. The winners will be selected on the basis of popular choice as well as by the experts.

According to the CBSE, the competition will provide a platform to learn from others- through blogs, wikis, etc. along with use of social media like Facebook and Twitter to popularize the submitted entries and also for the selection of winning entries through peer voting.

"The CBSE should not encourage competitions of this kind since they will promote win-at-all costs attitude among children and their parents through on-line voting and prizes. In fact, there is a need to protect children from a cut-throat academic environment these days," said Prabha Awasthi, Jaipur-based retired teacher.

I too think that unequal race and nasty stuff usually starts with the announcement of prizes, vying for limelight and education becoming real ugly. Rather, the CBSE should invest to build its own capacity to make evaluation system more reliable and valid rather than organizing competitions of all kinds in schools, especially the ones in which winners are selected through popular vote.

Instead of treating competition as a 'value', there is a need to encourage 'cooperation' in academics to make learning a social process.

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