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ABC of life skills education
There is much talk in India these days on Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) and inclusion of employable skills in school curriculum. Generally speaking, life skills are viewed as positive and enabling human behaviours to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life in society and at the personal level.

It is said that the life skills draw strength from positive psychology and emphasize the psycho-social skills that combine personal skills such as self-awareness, self-management, communication and pro-social skills along with reflective skills such as problem-solving, higher order thinking, self-management and critical thinking skills.

In India, The Central Board of Secondary Education is promoting LSBE under its reform scheme of Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE). But, no effective training of teachers to transact curriculum through LSBE and evaluate students accordingly has been imparted. It seems that the CCE scheme has been planned to fail since teachers are central to the success of any reform and they have not been trained adequately to implement the reform.

It needs to be understood that the success of an educational reform depends on teacher preparation. The educational research informs that for a reform to succeed there a need of one to two month of residential training of teachers to acquire the new competencies along with a school-level support system.

The LSBE has been promoted by the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child that stressed the need to link life skills to education. Likewise, the 1990 Jomtien Declaration on Education for All endorsed life skills as essential learning devices for a life with dignity, capacity development and improvement in quality of life. furthermore, the 2000 Dakar World Education Conference endorsed education as a human right to benefit from “an education that includes learning to know, to do, to live together and to be” through life skills based education.

Advocates of LSBE assert that such education leads to qualities such as self-esteem, sociability and tolerance, action competencies for change, and responsive behaviour to decide what to do and who to be, informs Wikipedia.

Here is the ABC of life skills as understood by me.

A: Adaptive positive social or interpersonal skills: Consisting of self-awareness skills, communication skills, negotiation and refusal skills, self-mobilization skills or assertiveness along with the values of cooperation, empathy or respect for diversity and inclusiveness.

B: Behavioural and attitudinal coping skills: Managing emotions and feelings, self-management, and self-monitoring for a positive articulated life style.

C: Cognitive skills: These include problem solving, understanding consequences of actions; decision making, critical thinking, self-learning and self-evaluation skills.

However, different skills complement and reinforce one another. If the curriculum is transacted through LSBE, the expected learning outcomes are measured and reported in terms of gain of knowledge, values, attitudes and skills.

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