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Why Foundation (Life) Skills


Foundation (Life) skills learning need not be confined to a specific age or stage in life .The idea of understanding life skills from a lifelong learning rests upon integrating learning and living both horizontally across family, community, study, work, leisure, and ‘life spaces’ and vertically from birth to death. It has been recognised that lifelong learning is integral to a meaningful human life.

In the future every educational endeavor will have to ask itself whether and to what extent it promotes learning activities that help develop foundation (life) skills that are vital to coping with the key issues of one’s life and survival, and to what extent it stimulates requisite attitudes and motivations (curiosity, interest, self-starting qualities) for lifelong learning. Learning to learn is itself is a basic need; one could say a life skill.

The critique on formal education is that it has concentrated too much on the instrumental and vocational skills and on the cognitive dimension (literacy’s) rather than on other dimensions such as the reflective and the psychosocial dimensions. On the other hand researches have shown that life skills can be systematically acquired and reinforced through non-formal and informal learning settings.

Foundation (Life) skills promote a better understanding between individuals, active participation and the capacity to negotiate, to live together, and to develop critical thinking. Foundation (Life) skills learning need to be included in curricula and not delivered as separate, stand-alone programmes except where conditions may require.

Foundation (Life) skills cannot be learned in an abstract and theoretical way. Rather it requires the individual to subject his own experience, contexts and observations about problems to creative analysis and evaluation, to collect, probe and discuss his experience where it happens in real life.

Given the diversity of contexts, backgrounds and cultures and inherent abilities there are bound to be individuals and groups, who cannot attain some life skills. One needs to try and develop other skills and abilities to encourage diversity rather than uniformity.