We have had ‘enough’ of a lot of things in life: Enough of the COVID pandemic, enough of working hard, enough of managing work-life balance.
However, we don’t seem to have ‘enough’ of materialism, aspirations, goals, wealth, greed… Just more and more of everything that brings instant gratification and pleasure, but not lasting happiness. I have been through the same journey, traveling at a speed where we don’t even pause to step back, reflect, and understand the difference between money and value, materialism, and a good value system.
Just now, over the last 6 months of the COVID pandemic, during the period of lockdown to ‘yet to be tamed’ COVID virus, many of us have been compelled to pause, listen quietly, and understand the environment. The circumstances and standards of living of the less fortunate, the migrant labor issue, and our crumbling health infrastructure are the realities that have dawned upon many of us.
We were ‘educated’ to believe that we can set lofty goals, and aspire for more & more. A time like COVID crisis is, in some ways, a great leveller. Life came to a standstill during the lockdown period, and the COVID infections that were just numbers or counts that seemed distant are in our neighbourhoods and at our doorsteps. It caught us unawares, and threw us into strange times never seen or experienced before in our lifetime. Uncertainty is the only certainty.
The COVID infection does not differentiate between the poor and the wealthy, the urbanite and the villager. Pain and suffering is not any easier for the ‘more fortunate’. Time to remember Steve Jobs’s ‘last words’.
This pandemic and the longish break from ‘life as usual’ and ‘business as usual’ has hopefully given all of us enough time to normalise our lifestyles and reimagine the education and the upbringing of our children. From early childhood education to school education to higher education, many of our schools claim to instill a ‘value system’ in the children via the curriculum route.
It is time to reimagine education and understand that values in life are not taught in classrooms, but are inspired by the behaviour of teachers, friends, and most importantly the family members and the neighbourhood we live in.
The National Education Policy, NEP 2020, provides an opportunity, time and space for strengthening the value systems with a balanced exposure to local culture and global opportunities.