Skills Augmented Education
Formal learning can teach you a great deal, but many of the essential
skills in life are the ones you have to develop on your own –Lee Iacocca
The most important life skill is the ability to learn and the willingness to adapt to the persistently changing environment. By learning new skills, we increase our understanding of the world around us and equip ourselves with the tools we need to live a more productive and fulfilling life, finding ways to handle the challenges that life, inevitably, throws at us. Life skills are not age specific and are not always taught directly but often learned indirectly through experiences and practice.
Life skills are the most important skills every young individual should imbibe as a teenager as they encourage change in behaviour to accomplish a balance between skills, attitude and knowledge. These skills lead to interpersonal skills, help in making critical decisions, evaluate decisions, and inculcate self-management skills that assist to succeed in life.
In a dynamic environment, having life skills is an indispensable part of being able to encounter the challenges of everyday life. The dramatic changes in global economies are influencing education, workplace and our household life. To manage the rapid pace and change of modern life style, students need to be well equipped with life skills such as the ability to deal with stress and frustration.
An essentially desirable skill necessary for full involvement in everyday life is a set of basic skills assimilated through direct life experiences that empower individuals to competently handle issues and problems normally encountered in daily life.These include creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, inter-personal relationships, the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate, along with personal and social responsibilities that contribute to make a good citizen – all indispensable skills for success in the 21st century, for a healthy society and for successful and employable individuals.
Life skills allude to the issues that are real, sometimes sensitive and affect people’s lives and check what people think is right or wrong, good or bad, significant or trivial in society. In a democratic country like ours we need self-motivated, informed and responsible citizens, who are passionate and capable of taking responsibility for themselves and their communities. It depends upon citizens who are aware of their rights and well-versed about social and political issues, concerned about the well-being of others and are articulate to put forward their opinions and arguments. These capacities do not develop unassisted they need to be learnt. While certain life skills may be acquired through life experiences in the home, in school or at work, they are not adequate to sufficiently prepare citizens for their active role required in today’s complex and diverse society.
Life skills help to develop self-confidence and effectively deal with significant life changes and challenges such as bullying and being able to succeed in the classroom and in the world beyond. The 21st century life skills that students need to develop to succeed in the information age are flexibility, initiative, social skills and leadership skills. Students need to learn to quickly, analyse what is going on around them and adjust keeping their goals at the forefront of their minds. Employers, today, struggle to find competent workers because of a disparity between workers’ qualifications and the precise skill sets the employers want. The 3 C’s most employers look for in the employees are Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking and Collaborating.
These further give students a voice in school thus empowering them to make a positive involvement by developing the expertise and experience they need to assert their rights and understand their responsibilities, while preparing them for the challenges and opportunities of adult and working life.
Schools teach students finance, accounting, etc but fail to emphasize the importance of saving, how to prepare your own budget, how to manage your own money, how to make big purchases and how our tax system works.
Mental health is one of the greatest debatable topics today. By accentuating this, students would go into the real world with much more understanding of the primary mental illnesses and holistic approaches that could help them in better understanding of themselves. Thus, we should emphasise more on imparting education on mental health so that our future generations can live more contented lives and achieve what they are capable of.
In my opinion time management is critical. However, it does not imply that every moment of our lives should be spent working. The time spent in leisure activities, hobbies, self-development, and especially family time are vital for being a healthy, happy person. Managing time efficiently keeps us self-disciplined and focused on our goals.
From making one’s bed to laundry basics, cooking and repairing, we all need to be well versed in basic housekeeping skills. Keeping the house tidy is a skill that ensures the health of your family, keeps you organized and saves your money, besides providing a fulfilling life. It promotes positive social norms that impact adolescent health, school and family. Good life skills enable your child to manage money responsibly, make healthy food choices, stand up to unhealthy peer pressure and be a good parent in the long-term.
Life Skills help adolescents to differentiate between hearing and listening, thus, ensuring less misconception or miscommunication regarding issues such as drugs, alcoholism, etc. These skills delay the onset of the abuse of tobacco, alcohol etc. and promote the development of positive self-esteem and teach anger control.
In addition to brushing their teeth and learning how to tie their shoe laces and get dressed, young children should know what to do in common situations as well as emergencies, such as:
- How to commute to and from home and school
- Who to call in an emergency (memorize phone numbers)
- What to do if they are bullied or witness bullying
- How to use kitchen appliances and prepare basic meals
Life skills are no special skills. With advancement in technology and the fast pace of life, with cut throat competition in every field – what one needs to survive and prove one’s mettle is how you understand and tackle the situation without being troubled and without disturbing people directly connected with us.
I would also like to state that not only academics but also skill set of every individual should be very strongly developed. In the knowledge skills and traits associated with the 21st century are information and communication technology (ICT) literacy, media and internet literacy, data interpretation and analysis, computer programming. Literacy of civic, ethical, and social-justice, global awareness, multicultural literacy i.e. awareness that culture impacts behaviour and beliefs, humanitarianism, scientific literacy and reasoning, environmental and ecosystems understanding, health and wellness literacy, including nutrition, diet, exercise, and public health and safety are the order of the day.
Skills give you options, open the doors of possibilities; so they must be so absorbed that they are reflected in every endeavour you make.
Manju Rana is the Principal cum Director of Seth Anandram Jaipuria School Vasundhara, Ghaziabad. She is an accomplished academician with a rich career spanning 29 years in the education sector. She started her journey with the Jaipuria Group in 2004 as Founder Member of the school.
Manju Rana has been felicitated with numerous accolades and recognitions for her exceptional accomplishments and zest for excellence in the education sector. She is the recipient of the prestigious ‘Lord Baden Powell National Award’ in the category of ‘School Education for Academic Leadership’. The Best Principal award was conferred on her for valuable contribution towards the disadvantaged elderly on consistent basis for the past 7 years.
She has been honoured with Best Principal Award in the International Category and Best School Award by ‘Science Olympiad Foundation’ for the last 3 years. Education World has ranked the Jaipuria School among ‘Top 5 Leaders in India for Career Counseling’ in the Grand Jury Awards in 2017 & Project Green School Initiative