Covid – 19 has struck. While reading this article, most of you will be in self-isolation and while many can see the humorous side to it, sadly the reality we are facing is much more ominous. Not necessarily the reality of now but the reality of our future. It can be positive and we can be optimistic but only if changes are made and we learn from the main lessons of Covid-19.
- Lesson 1 – Animals, nature and humans are one
Once again, we have been reminded that humans are connected to nature and all living beings. If we continue to trespass and abuse the privileges that come with this interconnectivity, we shall always face recurring situations such as SARS, Influenza A and Covid-19. If we continue to ignore nature’s cries for help, climate change will continue to show us just how dependent our survival on it is. We need to become more humble and considerate towards people, animals and the environment.
- Lesson 2 – Globalisation and respect
At the start, Covid-19 seemed very distant and people in the West did not pay attention to it. It was a distant problem troubling China and not relevant to Europe or the US. However, it soon became painfully obvious just how connected we all are in this world of globalisation. With Covid-19 going global, the ugly face of racism became more obvious and outbursts of violence against people of Asian origin were being recorded worldwide. We need to be more empathetic and practice effective altruism.
- Lesson 3 – Critical thinking and responsibility
As with almost every major situation our world faces, there are people who benefit and people who lose out. Yet, almost always without fail, conspiracy theories rise. While some aspects appear to ring true, there are rarely any logical arguments leading to a rational conclusion, yet many people believe in them anyway. This can be for two reasons: firstly, a lack of critical thinking and secondly, a will to believe it was all someone else’s fault and as a result, we don’t need to change anything in our own behaviour. We need to start taking responsibility for our actions.
We can change our behaviours to help minimise the possibilities of similar situations (and the negative results of these) arising in the future. However, the most important thing to do is prepare our children for this so they do not make the same mistakes as we did.
It is not by chance that education plays such an important goal in achieving the UN’s SDGs. This is also why the Caring for Life Education curriculum was based on UNESCO’s 4 Pillars of Education, with emphasis on the pillar ‘Learning to Live Together’. Its not just animal abuse. It’s not just racism. It’s not just climate change. It’s not just Covid-19. There will always be something new…
We do not know what kind of world we are preparing our children for, so transferring knowledge to them is not enough. We need to equip them to be kind and considerate individuals with critical thinking and emotional intelligence – able to analyse and assess any situation they are faced with in the future, reaching an informed decision on how to react (aka soft skills). We need to teach them HOW to think and not WHAT to think.
If you agree, please sign here to ask the Greek Ministry of Education to add this lesson in their mandatory curriculum for primary schools now!