Yes, I think that competition is both essential and plays a momentous role in the learning process and is important for kids to learn at an early age. Competition is unavoidable, and kids need to get used to both winning and losing, since being a gracious loser is harder than being a good winner.
Yes i totally agree with the fact that compitition plays a big role in process of learning. See the competition gives reason to people for learning and getting better at something. There are lots of ways of competition such as sports, some people compete at work and also some in academic roles.
There is enough competition in our society as it is.
People need to learn to be motivated by things other than competition.
How much office politics could be avoided if people learned to work for the sake of contributing to something great, rather than working for the sake of gaining recognition? Our whole school system is set up with competition in mind. Who gets into the best middle school, therefore high school, therefore college, therefore career, therefore social status? Competition diminishes our ability to interpret. There is already enough reflex to judge someone as stupid rather than different. Competition encourages a mindset of lack and limitation. It discourages innovation. Competition says "I have to withhold my ability to develop my own skills because conformity is more important than exploration."
Yes competition does make some students do the work and strive for high grades. But we need to know there's a significant difference between doing well and beating others.
I am a student just graduated from a secondary school. During the exams, me and my fellow classmates did work very hard in order to get high grades but instead of learning the knowledge thoroughly for the sake that the knowledge would be useful for our lifetime or that we find it interesting, what we did is analyzing tons of past papers to try to figure out the underlying patterns, how to answer different types of questions and what questions are likely to be asked in our following exams.
You may argue that children need to compete anyway when they get jobs and that competition itself is something to learn so it's important to the learning process. First of all, most people would agree that competition is not fun and often causes stress and anxiety as most of us are losers of a competition. And these emotional states inhibits our learning ability as well as creativity biologically saying. Secondly, the situation I mentioned in the previous paragraph repeats itself in countless jobs and countless studies have shown that competing is destructive. For example, we know that there's intense competition is journalism. Journalists may try to find news that can outshine others and this is often at the cost of the importance and accuracy of the news.
I hope that this can give a hint of the difference between doing well and winning. In addition, motivations don't only come from rewards or competing. There are extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. The latter means the work itself is rewarding and interesting to those who work on it. And finally, of course, we have different passions and interests which schools can work on to discover on students.
My references are drawn from Alfie Kohn, Sir Ken Robinson and countless others.