The importance of children’s overall development has been mentioned in many position papers and curriculum structures in the past. But in actual practice, they tend to be mere lip service.
“The future is already here – it’s not evenly distributed.” – William Gibson
This 2003 accent may not be more appropriate now. We live in a world that has been infected by viruses just as we started in the second decade of this millennium. As the school education system plunges into ‘normal functioning’ in the post-epidemic world, one thing that remains certain in an uncertain future is the need and importance of life skills. Therefore, it is imperative for the Indian education system to be better distributed, to be a more humane redevelopment catalyst for the youth and masses of India.
But what is life skills?
Life skills is an essential process that helps a person navigate through familiar, unfamiliar and challenging contexts with personal confidence, social conscience and ideas of professional skills.
Life skills are needed today
The Social Cohesion in a Post-Cowid World report from the University of Auckland’s Center for Informed Futures (2020) states: To improve in a changed environment … At the same time, we must acknowledge the problems that exist before the crisis and put more emphasis on solving them. ”
For India, one of the neglected issues is the real focus on whole child development. Indeed, the importance of children’s overall development has been mentioned in many position papers and curriculum structures in the past. But in actual practice, they tend to be mere lip service. Most recently, however, the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) highlighted the importance of encouraging our children’s socio-emotional development and developing their life skills, including critical thinking and creative thinking. This is an opportunity we need to take to correct the mistakes of our youth. Children in India are going through an education system with a distorted emphasis on rot-based educational knowledge. The reason for the development of life skills and the need to be a champion. And in this connection, the Life Skills Collaborative (LSC) is particularly apt to be the lever of change, as it is an organization dedicated to improving the quality of education offered to children for decades.
There is an idea that life skills are an ability that one can automatically acquire as one goes through school and college. It is completely confusing and based on a small number of children with special privileged backgrounds acquiring these skills quite seamlessly. However, the vast majority of young people, especially in severely disadvantaged communities, need appropriate, caring support to build their life skills so that they have a fair chance to thrive in a complex, crisis-prone and uncertain world. Adaptive life skills, coping with stress, empathy, perseverance, leadership, wealth, among others, can be powerful tools for moving through life that can be unexpected but also empowering!
We now have the opportunity to advocate for the integration of life skills in mainstream education.
Life skills take conversations forward
Of course, in order to introduce a life skills-centered curriculum, we need a general vocabulary on life skills that defines the key definitions, related skills, actions that express life skills and appropriate phrases / words (in the regional language).
In this regard, LSC’s work on creating an India Vocabulary of Life Skills is a significant milestone and a catalyst for life skills conversations in India. The first edition of the dictionary promises to be sensitive to the development of the human potential of young India. It will help, expand and enrich the nationwide conversation about life skills.
It is noteworthy that there is no existing framework for life skills that broadly defines each skill, how each skill can be demonstrated by an individual and what other related life skills provide! Therefore, LSC India Dictionary is an important resource not only for India but also for the entire South Asia region.
The LSC’s India Dictionary has the potential to catalyze and integrate the various scattered conversations that are happening across the country about life skills. Having a wealth of broadly defined skill terms makes it easier to have meaningful discussions using commonly understood vocabulary. This glossary can serve as a star of the North for empowering young people in India to improve and succeed in life.