The importance of life skills
In a constantly changing environment, having life skills is an essential part of being able to meet the challenges of everyday life. The dramatic changes in global economies over the past five years have been matched with the transformation in technology and these are all impacting on education, the workplace and our home life. To cope with the increasing pace and change of modern life, students need new life skills such as the ability to deal with stress and frustration. Where life skills education is well developed and practiced, it enhances the well being of a society and promote positive outlook and healthy behavior. In particular, it enables the individual to:
- Translate knowledge, attitude, skills and values into action
- Behave responsibly and this leads to healthy living
- Develop positive attitude towards themselves and others
- Develop full potential
- Promote the state of mental well being as this motivates them and others
- Promote risk free behavior
- Communicate effectively
- Develop negotiation skills
- Improve self perception by:
- Building self confidence
- Building self esteem
- Building self worth
Life Skills Education has long term benefits to the society. These include educational, social, health, cultural and economic benefits.
(a) Educational benefits
- Strengthens teacher pupil relationship
- Leads to desirable behavior change
- Improves discipline in sankuls
- Reduces learner problems such as truancy, absenteeism drug and substance abuse and teenage pregnancies
- Helps learners to improve their performance
(b) Social Benefits
- Improves the socialization process among learners such as relating to others in a friendly way
- Enables learners to choose good and reliable friends
- Helps learners to use their leisure time properly
- Assists learners to recognize and avoid risky situations
- Bring about meaningful interaction among learners, teachers and the sankul community
- Helps in character building.
(c) Health Benefits
- Leads to prevention and control of diseases such as STIs, HIV and AIDS
- Contributes to a person’s general well being (physical, mental, emotional and social)
- Leads to less strain on health facilities
- Helps people to be responsible for their own and other people’s health
(d) Cultural Benefits
- Enables people to adopt and maintain meaningful cultural practices and avoid practices that may put self and others at risk
- Promotes harmonious interaction between people of different cultures
- Helps in the clarification of values in the society
(e) Economic Benefits
- It leads to high productivity due to a motivated, strong and energetic labour force
- Savings are increased as money used eg on management and control of HIV and AIDS can be invested elsewhere. Resources such as time and money are saved as learners acquire skills to manage themselves and their environment.
- Rehabilitation of drug and substance abuses.
- Repair of damaged property.
- Buy teaching learning resources.
Assumptions in life skills education
- The learners are able to make rational decisions if they are equipped with adequate information, skills and desirable attitudes
- Life Skills Education is an effective intervention measure in responding to socio-cultural problems like: HIV and AIDS, drugs and substance abuse, school unrest among others.
- Life Skills Education responds to critical needs of the youth
- Life skills are well developed when based on the learners real life experiences
- Development of life skills is a life long process that starts in early childhood and continues throughout one’s life.