Why learn life skills?
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Why learn life skills?

Life skills help adolescents to make informed decisions, solve problems, and build healthy relationships.

education Updated: Jun 19, 2012 13:30 IST
Dr. Jitender Nagpal
Dr. Jitender Nagpal
Hindustan Times

"I have never let my Schooling interfere with my Education"
- Mark Twain

The word 'education' means different things to different people. It could mean upgrading one's skills in the context of performance, strengthening oneself with various qualities, enabling oneself for better decision making and handling conflicts and investing authority through empowering oneself.

So "Education is a creation of choices, making people aware about those choices and enabling them to make use of those choices".

As education systems expand to empower youth, every nation, society and community has to work towards promoting an atmosphere of well-being. When adolescents acquire knowledge, attitudes, values and life skills, they benefit in a variety of ways. Life skills help adolescents make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathise with others and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner. Such knowledge and skills can lead to behaviours that prevent disease and injury, foster healthy relationships and enable young people to play leadership roles.

Moreover, the knowledge and life skills education imparted to young ones are likely to be passed on to their own children, thus influencing future generations. We, therefore, need to effectively address a wide spectrum of issues related to adolescence and youth in a rapidly changing world.

Why is there a need for life skills enrichment?
The host of factors that promote high-risk behaviours such as alcoholism, drug abuse aggression, irresponsible sexual behaviours are boredom, rebellion, disorientation, peer pressure and curiosity. The psychological push factors such as the inability to tackle emotional pain, conflicts, frustrations and anxieties about the future are often the driving force for high-risk behaviour. Life skills training is an efficacious tool for empowering the youth to act responsibly, take initiative and take control. It is based on the assumption that when young people are able to rise above the emotional impasse from daily conflicts, entangled relationships and peer pressure, they are less likely to resort to anti social or high risk behaviours and grow up to be aware, responsible and empowered individuals and harmonised citizens of a developing nation.

The author is a programme director - Expressions India, a Life Skills Education & School Wellness Programme. He's also a Sr. Consultant Psychiatrist with Vimhans & Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi. Have a personal problem? Email hthorizons@hindustantimes.com marked 'Dr. Nagpal'.

First Published: Jun 22, 2009 18:20 IST