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What does Coronavirus have to do with Lifelong Learning?

By Alexandre GINOYER

President of CMAtlv

Rather than regret, only the lessons we can learn from the current situation to change the future are useful ... for the better.

What better? If it is to restart an economy that degrades the human and destroys the planet, we might as well prolong this confinement, which marks a break for our poor and unique Earth and for us, generally blinded by activism. An unexpected break that gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves, to reflect, to get back to basics, to take care of ourselves, our body, our mind, our loved ones, to listen to our feelings, of our desires, to open up to the world, to art, to do altruistic actions…

Have we been sufficiently educated-trained in this? Weren't our heads rather stuffed with knowledge essentially intended to pass competitions to out do the others, leaving the poorest on the side, by finding that normal? Doesn't our society commit us to bury our feelings, especially when it comes to compassion, legitimate fear, even justified anger, sorrow, joy, true love? Not to reflect on the true meaning of things, and especially lives: what each aspires to want to be and do with his life, his passage on this Earth?

When is this reflection given? The acceleration of the deaths and the danger that lurks abruptly remind us that we must not postpone essential questions, and therefore essential learnings; take care of yourself and others, seek to know yourself and flourish as a unique being, being useful to others, respectful of the planet ... Living in society is learned, bringing everyone to understand and accept the interplay of rights and duties too. There would be far fewer people in prisons and far more solidarity, and not just in times of disasters.

It will be hard. The systems are rusted. We need to move from vertical systems to collaborative modes, respectful of all, making diversity an opportunity, a source of innovation. The Corona virus gives a blinding headlight on a change that had started. Because we did not wait for this scourge to ask ourselves a few questions: until when will we accept that a tiny minority of people enrich themselves colossally on the back of entire populations? What does this mean for both of them? How long will we accept to destroy our generous mother earth? When will the global awareness occur that our present collective behavior is suicidal? It is a question of education to train people to develop their sense of belonging to a global humanity, their sense of responsibility, their critical sense so as not to gobble up the fake-news that passes, their capacity for resilience and imagination, their common sense, quite simply.

We are not predestined. Everyone can evolve, must seek to become the best version of themselves but they cannot do it alone. We are social beings. So it is from a very young age that the correct teachings must be given, and that in the benevolence and humility of those accompanying. Humility because we adults too have everything to discover in this new world to imagine together. Because we are more intelligent with others than alone, even if we have a higher IQ than Mont Blanc. Because to rational intelligence we must add other forms of intelligence to cultivate; spiritual (the meaning of things), emotional and bodily, in particular. And good news, we can develop them throughout our lives! Each, with each other, for each other, by each other. At any age and any circumstance. Any problematic situation is a possibility for learning, and it is by learning from it that we feel better and are useful.

One may wonder how people are educated when they elect and approve presidents who burn forests, when the most powerful refuse to take into account climate change and the words of scientists. Is the deregulation only climatic? How can we accept that employees must compromise themselves by participating in destructive activities, destroying their health and remaining silent in order to save their jobs? All this happens because the majority of people find it normal. It’s Earth’s entire population that must educate itself differently and transform itself.

This dreadful virus must be seen as an opportunity to reflect on what our world might be like tomorrow. It is time to develop scenarios, hypotheses, because we cannot foresee everything, we are seeing it now. Should we wait for this virus to arrive to be concerned with prevention and sanitation? Cultivate anticipation!

Has the time finally come to educate for well-made heads rather than sore ones? How can we still let teachers teach lectures whose content can be found in one click on the net instead of making the students think, instead of thinking all together? In French, the word "to learn" has a double sense: “I teach to someone, I learn from someone.” The English distinguish: to learn and to teach. Let’s use the French meaning: everyone is a learner today, let’s be humble in front of the colossal task before us to undertake the necessary transformations. Don't let the opportunity pass you by!

The World Committee for Lifelong Learning, an NGO partner of UNESCO, aims to be a place of exchange, sharing and reflection on these themes. You can help us, by joining, by participating. Among other things, we have a beautiful VIth World Forum in preparation ... Visit

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