Let us learn from Cikgu Covid

Let us learn from Cikgu Covid

Date : 14 May 2020

Reported by : Roslan Bin Rusly

Category : News


By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak - -

IN celebrating Hari Guru this year, let's not forget Cikgu Covid, the deadly novel coronavirus. Millions are affected by it since early this year, yet there is still no end in sight, causing nearly half of the world population to be isolated in their localities because the virus is most feared by all and sundry.

Cikgu Covid, however, is different in various ways. Foremost, Covid the teacher tends to be an equaliser based on its overall observed impact. Like Covid, education used to deliver to all equally regardless of geographical location, socio-economic status, beliefs and tribes, but not anymore. Luckily, Covid still treats them all equally in that no amount of money and wealth can make a difference based on a set of stringent key principles.

Covid is obsessed with cleanliness and hygiene all round. The washing of hands regularly is a must, to be aided by soap. Otherwise, sanitisers are needed, especially if you've come in contact with certain surfaces or materials. Students are, therefore, taught to embrace these practices. Covid is also more successful in advocating the use of face masks wherever possible, especially in public spaces, notably crowded ones. It is unavoidable.

Cikgu Covid introduces new concepts like "physical" or "safe" distancing, which is to keep away from the next person by certain measures to ensure personal security and safety. This is not to be confused with the oft-used "social" distancing, which the cikgu is adamantly opposed to in preference for "social consolidating" or solidarity. This is because the community should be neatly kept intact to build a strong collective rapport in the face of adversity.

The practice gives just the opposite impact to social distancing and, therefore, the lesson must be quickly adhered to. This will go a long way in clearing up the unwarranted confusion, especially among students of impressionable age. If such habits are to be embedded culturally, it is better to get it right from the start.

That it is now Ramadan, Covid further highlights vividly the need to be prudent and thrifty in our expenses and consumption. Acting sparingly in the choice of food and other immediate needs and wants is vital. This is one way to "equalise" in the practical sense so that more people can be provided for. The more people are educated in adopting this lifestyle, the more people can share the limited available resources.

Gandhi used to be quoted as saying: "There is enough for everyone's need, not everyone's greed." Cikgu Covid wants to prove that this indeed is the case for all. Such habits and lifestyles have been shown to have a significant impact in cleaning up the environment. For example, prudent usage can eliminate wastage of food or other produce that would otherwise end up in the landfill and pollute the ecosystem.

To ensure this, similar habits can be inculcated in schools so as to bring about reduced human activities like travelling, open burning and the intrusion into the ecosystem. In fact, Covid advocates work away from the school where possible, or stay at home when it is apt to do so! This in turn will initiate a gradual slowing down of lifestyles that will give the environment some breathing space.

In fact, Covid insists on various forms of lockdowns periodically to achieve such lofty outcomes. Unlike most opinions, Covid does not need the so-called "new" normal. Instead, the preference is to reinstate the above lessons and recommendations back into the classroom and practise them regularly and diligently as part of the much needed shift in education. Cleanliness and hygiene, sustainable practices and, of course, a modulated way of living can give a more meaningful life sans the unnecessary mad rush.

It reinforces the effort to flatten the curve, which, according to Covid's teachings, can present the ultimate solution for a sustainable and healthy future. This calls for the "renewed" long-forgotten norms to be mainstreamed across the education ecosystem. Now is the time to put things right again as Cikgu Covid has ably argued if not demonstrated.

Happy Teachers Day post-pandemic!

The writer, an NST columnist for more than 20 years, is International Islamic University Malaysia rector

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