The desire for peace and happiness is something that resonates with people across the globe. We all want to live in a peaceful, happy environment inching closer to prosperity. However, the current scenario is a far cry from the idealistic world we want to leave behind for our children.
What are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
With the desire to create a sustainable world, the UN created 17 interlinked global goals which provide “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.” (Ref: https://sdgs.un.org/goals)
The fourth out of the 17 SDGs is ‘Quality Education’ with a lofty goal which is as follows “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”
Target 4.1 – By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
This mammoth task cannot be achieved unless those privileged to be educated worldwide, You and I, lend a supporting hand.
Creating learning opportunities for all is possible as it need not be confined within the walls of a formal classroom. The Indian culture has witnessed the rich heritage of the gurukul system of education where learning happened in a comfortable environment out in the open. Wisdom was passed down from the guru to the shishya in the oral tradition and storytelling was the primary method of handing down information. Learning was not theoretical but application-based. Long before paper and books were invented, valuable lessons were taught through a tale well told. The Indian culture has a rich repertoire of texts to boast of like the Epics, Vedas, Puranas, Panchatantra stories. Each of these is a valuable text that gives away significant lessons.
What is the purpose of Education?
“Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think” – Albert Einstein
Unfortunately today we measure human worth in terms of marks and grades. But are they truly indicative of human potential? The quality of education is measured by the prestigious institution one goes to. Again, the prestigious name of the institution does not guarantee the quality of education imparted to its student.
In agreement with Einstein’s thoughts, the purpose of education is to enable humans to think and grow. And what better way can children and adults alike be trained to think than through the art of listening to stories? Within stories are hidden words of wisdom that we often overlook. A story can skillfully teach us lessons in problem-solving, critical thinking, coping with emotions, etc, all of which are skills to lead a happy life.
We at Nutspace are committed to using storytelling in order to build life skills in children. We build our lesson plans around stories with careful consideration hoping they help parents and children think, explore, question, and learn.
Target 4.7 under the SDG Quality Education is as follows – By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
Stories can generate empathy and help create awareness about issues such as human rights, gender equality, promotion of peace, and non-violence.
Teacher training to use storytelling
Target 4.8 – By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States
Teachers can be trained to use storytelling effectively within and outside their classrooms. Workshops can be conducted by teachers to engage underprivileged children once a week. The youth of the country can contribute significantly by using storytelling to create opportunities for learning. A small step like reaching out to the poorer sections of society and donating storybooks that can engage and excite the children can go a long way. As the ancient saying goes “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Progress thus far has been slower than estimated and the harsh reality is that “Covid 19 has wiped out 20 years of education gains”. Children are at a greater risk of exploitation including child trafficking and child labor. The road ahead is tougher and steeper. Without a doubt ‘education for all must be achieved for the realization of the other SDGs laid out as well. At this juncture, let’s use the power of storytelling to reach out to a larger audience and help them learn and think!