Competition in our education system is a zero sum game in which the success of one person is based on the failure of others. You will have a good standing in your class if the others have done poorly. Competition is a malaise, from which our education system is suffering but we have accepted it to be something natural and inevitable, although research only provides a shred of evidence to support this argument. In contrast, there is a lump of evidence which proves that competition in many disciplines, specifically in education, is counter-productive. American author Alfie Kohn, who has done an immense amount of work in this area, sums up the case against competition in these words, “We compete not because we are born that way but because we are raised that way”. Research shows that children in non-competitive environments are much more innovative, creative and productive as opposed to those in a competitive environment. David Johnson, a professor of social psychology at the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues, reviewed all the studies they could find on the subject from 1924 to 1980. Sixty-five of the studies found that children learn better when they work cooperatively as opposed to competitively, eight found the reverse, and 36 found no significant difference. Now let’s come to the core question. Why does competition decline performance? Kohn provided three basic arguments. First, competition often makes kids anxious and that interferes with their concentration. Second, competition doesn’t permit them to share their talents and resources as cooperation does, so they can’t learn from one another. Finally, trying to be number one distracts them from what they’re supposed to be learning. It distracts them from the intrinsic motivation to do certain things and focus on the extrinsic factors (often punishments or rewards) to achieve certain things. Our country is no exception to this global dilemma in the education system. In Pakistan most of the students are stressed under the burden of competition. Their performance is constantly measured by their teachers, parents and society members in comparison to others. The tasks assigned at schools, colleges and even universities are mostly based on competition. A student is considered intelligent if he has scored more than his peers. Education has been made a battle ground in which students are in a cut throat competition with one other. Collaboration, cooperation and group work has rarely been stressed upon in the academic arena. It is high time that we bring a change in our education system by introducing more cooperative methods for measuring the performance of our students. Their capabilities must be measured with an objective standard, and the grading system should be based more on collaborative tasks. A win-win atmosphere needs to be created in order to give high self-esteem to students. They should be taught what they can gain in a collective effort, and conversely, they should be educated about the ills of competition. Apart from this, parents should assess the intellectual performance of their children on an independent standard. They should also make efforts to raise their children in a healthy, cooperative environment instead of gradually relying on the myth of cooperation but in reality, enforcing competition. The writer is a student of Politics and International relations.