Basic life skills need to be taught in schools, along with the basic curriculum that has been there for years

Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: central, state and local. Under various articles of the Indian Constitution, free and compulsory education is provided as a fundamental right to children between the ages of 6 and 14. The ratio of public schools to private schools in India is 7:5.

All the schools in India come under the governance of respective boards under which they function. Now, there are various State Boards of Education, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for Indian School Certificate Examination and National Institute of Open Schooling which look after school examination in India.
The Indian school education system is one of the largest and most complex in the world.

The complexity of the system stems from India’s need to maintain standard and uniformity while giving scope for its diverse culture and heritage to grow and flourish across the length and breadth of the country. After independence, India has worked hard to provide access to almost all its young people, but it has only just begun to focus on aspects of quality and seek to improve learning outcomes.

In recent decades India has made significant progress on access to schooling and enrollment rates in primary education but dropout rates and low levels of learning remain challenges for the state and central government.

Schools in India are running on a basic curriculum that has been there for years. We all have seen the traditional style of exhibiting education in our schools; there are about five subjects in every class, students appear for exams twice a year and are promoted to the next class on basis of their performance and some are even given trophies and medals.

Though these subjects cover almost all the information from the monarchy in the medieval period to trigonometry, they lack the basic life skills for which they seem to struggle even after getting into a job or marriage.

Life skills (LS) are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands, challenges, and stress of everyday life. Childhood and adolescence are the developmental periods during which one acquires these skills through various methods and people.

Basic Life skills which need to be taught at the schools level especially to adolescents are as follows:

Critical thinking and creative thinking
Decision making and problem-solving
Communication skills and interpersonal relations
Coping with emotions and stress
Self-awareness and empathy

Methods to improve the psychosocial competence and resilience of the adolescent as health promotional activities and development-oriented approach need to be included in the school syllabus and provided as much relevance as the Three Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic).

List of some basic life skills which should be taught right from the beginning:

1. Maintaining basic hygiene – Maintaining personal hygiene include basic life skills like how to use a toilet, wash hands properly, eat with etiquettes, ironing your clothes etc. Though some schools are aware and take necessary steps towards it, a majority of schools are still missing out on making this skill a part of their curriculum.

2. How to open bank accounts and transfer money – We’re not talking about the stocks and major finance but the basic process of opening bank accounts as we’re moving towards digitization. As there are plenty of platforms available in the market to make transactions, it’s very important we teach these skills in school so people don’t end up making mistakes.

3. Feminism- This term is abused so much on the internet that it has almost become irrelevant. One of the reasons of this is the lack of such education in school. Consciously or unconsciously, a child sees gender stereotyping right when he comes into the world.

4. Time management – To be successful in life, all you need to do is manage your 24 hours efficiently. Learning how to stay organized in a task and productive is something that virtually every human, in every career, will need.

5. Understanding student loans – Whenever someone mentions education loan, do you also think its rocket science?
Sometimes, rocket science might appear easier. Understanding the process of education loans is something even adults fail at. This one area should be covered in the curriculum considering even parents weren’t taught about it themselves.

6. Taxation and everything related to it – Although everyone has to file for taxes, hardly anyone know how to do the same. According to a survey, 65 per cent adults have suffered from the struggle of filing taxes and had to spend a major amount of money to CA for the most basic filing. No one really knows the exact process of filing taxes, do you?

7. Identifying your passion – They say only dead fish go with the flow. First thing children learn in most of the schools in India is to follow the crowd and get into the job market. No student has been ever encouraged to study what he truly is passionate about, especially when it comes to creative careers like being an artist.

8. Digital rules/ cyberbullying – Children in this digital age start texting before they speak. So, before anything else, we should teach our kids about internet rules/pros and cons and danger of online games.

9. Household repairs/ maintenance – Raise your hand if you’ve been ALIVE for 30 years and don’t know how to fix a pipe or change lights in your house. Where do people learn these basic skills from? Students should be taught basic cleaning skills and should be encouraged to help their parents in household work.

10. Human survival kit/ Basic first aid – Just imagine how much a situation will be different if everyone knows basic first aid? It can be an accident on the road/ someone who needs help in the family or any unfortunate incident, if someone knows how to stop a bleed correctly/perform basic tests/ lift a patient, they can be such a good resource/help as a citizen.

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