Over the years, I noticed a drop in the number of students wishing their teachers. This trend worried me and led to a survey. The questions focused on basic greetings, respecting people around them, recognizing people in their neighbourhood, being comfortable with oneself, lessening the impact of stress on relationships, and getting time for oneself. The survey, ‘Connection”, took into account whether people
around the students exhibited good manners, if they were cheerful and finally if network mattered to them.
The sample comprised 383 people all over the country with 86.1% respondents being women. The age group covered all ranges from 10 years to above 60 years showing good proportion of educated people.
To ascertain how open we were to meet people, questions were formulated. Data showed that around 75% of people wished one another but only 37.6% looked forward to meeting people and a mere 37% recognized people in their area The questions attempted to fathom how stress and time affect us. 48% of people mentioned that stress affects their relationships and only 11.5% got time for themselves. Why could others not find time for themselves?
The final straw was realising that even though we had a good number of educated people, only 13.1% exhibited good manners. So, daily we were experiencing people who do not care about manners.
From the overall data received, it is quite obvious that we are struggling to find time for ourselves. When we are unable to devote time to our self, tune into our inner emotions or talk to our self, then how can we be expected to understand another individual? How can we build positive equations among ourselves to sow positive thoughts, confidence and happiness? This quote ‘the better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the rest of the world,” from Toni Collette resonates.
A recent survey revealed that more than half of the people living in metros are likely to give in to road rage due to stress. So, in retrospect, where has the education system flawed? Somewhere in the process, we educators became experts in moulding students into maximum mark achievers but sacrificed the harnessing of emotional, mental and humane well-being.
We may be becoming literate as per the 2011 census where the average literacy rate in India stands at 74.04% with Kerala having the highest literacy rate in India at 93.91% and Bihar with the lowest literacy rate in India of 63.82%. Nevertheless, it is time that as educationists we redirect our curriculum to have students
at every level inculcate basic behaviour and manners because if we don’t then no amount of education or technology is going to sail us through the next century. The following changes could help.
1. Value education and mindfulness as critical as academic learning in school. Schools must strengthen their curriculum to build emotional well-being among students.
2. Six-day work should be reduced to five-day work for people to get time for themselves, time for
relationships and time to de-stress. Theories have proved that efficiency has increased with people getting time off rather than drying up their strength.
3. Awareness workshops on basic etiquette through media and camps must be mandatory in every educational setting and workplaces.
4. Incentives for families to refrain from usage of phones at family gatherings and events to promote togetherness and harmonious relationships. GDP may be the barometer for an advancing nation but what truly drives it are people filled with gratitude, hospitality and rich values.