You don’t get a Trophy for participation, You get a Trophy for being a Winner

How we are ruining meritocracy

Afroz Chakure
3 min readMar 8, 2024
Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

The modern education system is laughable because it punishes top performers and allows everyone to pass irrespective of how much effort they put in.

Let me tell you a story

How Indian Education System was ruined?

Initially education was meant as a pathway to train people to be equipped with the necessary knowledge that would help them do better at any job of their choosing.

Slowly and gradually teachers found it difficult to deal with students who were weak at studies and failed & remained in the same class.

To deal with this they implemented a solution which allowed every student to be promoted to the next grade no matter how bad they would’ve performed in their studies.

Schools didn’t have to deal with low performers and every student irrespective of how hard they studied or how less they studied got promoted.

The fear of failing vanished, course work & passing exams became easy and you have an entire generation of people thinking they “Deserve” everything everyone else has, irrespective of whether they’ve earned it or not.

Why I hate consolation and participation prizes?

Although I have received bulk of these during my school and college days, I hate them immensely.

It is still better to lose than to receive these certificates because they essentially mean “here is a certificate just because you exist”.

These don’t mean “you are the best” or “you performed better than everyone”.

It gives a false sense of accomplishment to all those who have been awarded.

When you award everyone, you are essentially telling the winners that your efforts & hard-work don’t matter because everyone is equal in our eyes.

When you smudge this all over the winners face — Guess what is going to happen next time, “they won’t perform to the best of their abilities”.

Want Success, Earn it

The truth is you don’t deserve shit, everything in life is earned.

Even if you’ve done great things a few years ago, they don’t matter.

In life you have to prove yourself each and every day.

Cracked and secured a good rank in a national or international examination. OR

Did great as an athlete in school and college. OR

Made some great music that did millions of views on Youtube.

These things shouldn’t become our ultimate criteria for choosing the best out of the ordinary.

Some people are late bloomers and success shouldn’t be defined by a single event / act or have the same pathway as everyone before you, it is a continuous process of creation and achievement.

You certainly shouldn’t be handed the opportunity based on what you did 4 years or even 10 years ago.

Every revolution in history has started off as a fight towards meritocracy but often ends with people at the top trying to control and retain power among their own peers and families (leading to monopolies).