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Why being a lifelong learner matters during lockdown

Lifelong learning has helped me attain the fullest possible development in my personal, social and professional life, the writer says.
Lifelong learning has helped me attain the fullest possible development in my personal, social and professional life, the writer says.
Image: Stock Image

Understanding the value of being a lifelong learner will help a lot of people survive and endure the extension of the Covid-19 lockdown in SA with resilience.

A lifelong learner is one that doesn't complain about circumstances but always looks for an opportunity to gain and learn something new from every experience.

The idea is that learning never stops, learning is fun and learning keeps us going.

Ettore Gelpi puts it better in his book, titled Lifelong Education and International Relations, when he states that lifelong education means making full use of a society's human resources.

It is learning that meets individual and collective aspirations and needs and whose end is action.

Originally published in 1985, this book argues that lifelong learning has a vital part to play in fostering international political understanding. It also demonstrates how educational planners can use the concept of lifelong education to deal with some of the contradictions inherent in many of the education systems in the industrialised world.

Today, we are swamped with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) worldwide and on a daily basis we are advancing our knowledge of new precautions we can adopt to fight and minimise its spread.

So far, the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) had spread to six continents, and approximately 108,837 people had died after contracting the respiratory virus. Around 19,468 of these deaths occurred in Italy.

It is therefore not only crucial but necessary for all of us to be open- minded and flexible to learn new ways of doing things, and this requires the character of being a lifelong learner.

Staying at home under lockdown can be depressing. However, if you are open about learning to do things differently and achieving what you have planned while using lifelong learning as your core value, then you will find yourself productive and positive despite what is happening around you.

It is our duty to shift our mindset and be appreciative of being learners.

On a personal level, I have always understood that I am responsible for the choices that benefit my life and hence I always got attracted to the concept of lifelong learning.

I remember as an undergraduate student at the University of the Western Cape, I found myself in a depressing state when I was declined accommodation in a student residence because my funding was delayed.

That was a really frustrating experience for me because I didn't know Cape Town at all, even though my sister lived in one of the townships in Somerset West. But I knew this was an opportunity for me to reset and learn new things.

Being open to the possibility of staying with my sister in Strand and travelling to school every morning by train was a challenge at first because of the distance but I realised I was left with no other option.

Being the village girl that I am, I had never caught a train. I was not prepared mentally because I never knew what that experience would look like for me but was positive I would figure it out as I went along.

Comparing that three-year experience to today, where I have to obey regulations established to save me from contracting Covid-19, I choose to stay at home, work from home and learn new ways to be effective in my life.

Lifelong learning has helped me attain the fullest possible development in my personal, social and professional life.

Our strength as South Africans is to ensure that our individual dreams continue to be renewed even in the midst of uncertain times and Covid-19.

*Myataza is a social commentator and founder of Village Girl Creatives

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