Teens need to learn as much about life skills as textbooks, experts say

Following the Union Government’s emphasis on skills development for school children in the 2022 budget, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar recently announced the State Government’s decision to make life skills development a compulsory subject for grades 9-12.

Khattar said the broader goal of the Haryana government will be to make students “cultured and empowered so that they contribute significantly to making India a world leader again.” Although hard skills are a larger category, the importance and effectiveness of teaching life skills for the social, emotional, and cognitive development of students has also emerged in the post-pandemic era.

What are life skills?

Although there is no definitive list, some of the main examples are time and money management, effective communication, interpersonal relationships, stress management, among others.

According to Unicef, life skills are a behavior change or behavior development approach designed to achieve a balance between three domains: knowledge, attitude and skills. Meanwhile, WHO defines life skills as the ability to engage in adaptive and positive behavior that enables individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of daily life.

Why is it important to teach life skills in the early years?

Maneesh Dhooper, co-founder of edtech communication skills development platform PlanetSpark, said young people are full of untapped potential and need dedicated skills that allow them to bring out the best in people. themselves.

“Consider a group of young people who have excelled in school but who don’t know how to deal with the realities of life. What if they weren’t able to communicate clearly? Or were they still in debt because they couldn’t manage their money? It’s both disturbing and all too common. While no one can deny the value of good grades, they are insufficient without the required life skills,” Dhooper pointed out.

Vishal Gupta, founder and CEO of Little Leap, said the need for life skills is present in all age groups. However, the importance of certain skills becomes relevant at a certain age. “For a child aged 4 to 6, morals, ethics and values, self-image and language and expression are the most important skills, while confidence and problem solving become more important from 8 to 10 years after the foundation of other life skills have been developed,” Gupta pointed out.

Sensitization of parents, schools

PlanetSpark’s Dhooper said millennial parents are more aware of the importance of life skills given their own experiences. “With advances in technology and the availability of online platforms, accessibility and awareness of life skills has improved dramatically over the past 10 to 15 years. With less time to spend with their child, active parents in millennials are enrolling their children in life skills classes for the development of the school and co-curricular areas of their children’s lives,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mukund Rao, the co-founder of muvin, a platform that provides financial education courses for teens and teens, said, “With the changing times and the advent of digitalization in India, young Indians are becoming financially independent much earlier than even the previous one. a few decades. We have seen that due to the penetration of finance pages on social media, teenagers have an initial interest and basic awareness to understand personal finance from an early age.

“It’s important to visibly demonstrate financially responsible behavior in front of your children to teach them important money management lessons from an early age,” Rao added.

Pandemic-induced demand for life skills education

Little Leap’s Gupta said that with online learning becoming a new norm during the pandemic, parents have become more aware of other activities and skills their children can enroll in.

PlanetSpark’s Dhooper also supports the claim that huge changes have been seen in the pre- and post-pandemic era. “The need for soft/life skills was present long before, but the demand accelerated after the first Covid-induced lockdown. The number of registrations on our platform has increased almost 150 times during the 2020-21 year, with the majority of parents wishing to enroll their children in communication courses,” added Dhooper.

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