Competition will surround a person all their life. Why would you shelter a student from that? Competition is so good, it makes a student work for something, trying to be the best that they can be. If schools keep it up with their new 'everyone is a winner' statements, kids aren't going to strive to be their best because they know they will always be the same as everyone else. Competition builds self confidence, self discipline, and prepares students for the real world. As long as they learn how to lose gracefully, and respect other competitors, competition is an incredibly healthy, character building experience.
Although learning is collective, there needs to be an element of competition. Why do students get good grades? So they can be the top of their class. It is powerful motivation and allows students to get ahead. In other words, it is the drive for students to succeed. To be successful in life, you have to collaborate, yet you also need to stand-out from other people. If you don't have the competitive spirit, you won't have the edge in college admissions and job applications. You have to be competitive AND know how to work well with others.
You will compete for a job, a mate, an apartment. You will compete for the attention of the bartender or the parking spot two lanes over. Life is nothing but a competition. Why shelter kids?
When there is competition among students, they will be motivated to prove themselves to their peers. They will want to focus on their studies and anything else they face competition in. This in a way encourages them to improve their talents in a particular field and hence helps them
Competition gives a boost of confidence - especially when you are the victorious one. It is fun and you can have light competition which spurs students on to do well.
Learning is not for competition. Learning is for everyone to understand how to do things in life. Sharing and trading your information with others while you learn advances everyone with a fraction of the effort per person. For example, if your assignment requires reading a long book, you can split everyone's share and then share the general idea of the book. One of my teachers said that he did that himself in high school and he along with the rest of the group got the highest marks on the assignment. Learning should be for everyone.