The potential for educators and schools to instil life skills and learning mindsets in students has not developed significantly in India, particularly for those children from disadvantaged backgrounds who would benefit the most. The scope and interest in life skills, however, is evidently growing, with practitioners, researchers and funders embarking on and supporting a range of initiatives.
In order to broaden our collective impact, we perceived great value and need in bringing together different stakeholders. With this objective, Central Square Foundation together with ASER Centre held a roundtable discussion on life skills in India. The aim of the roundtable was to bring together these isolated efforts and drive the conversation towards targeted life skills, common quality indicators and questions of scale. The discussion explored certain key questions:
- What ‘life skills’ should we target?
- Through what approaches can life skills be built in children?
- What intervention models can work for building life skills in children?
- What are the barriers commonly faced in integrating social and emotional skills into regular curriculum for educators who work with and within schools?
- How can such skills – their immediate, intermediate and long-term outcomes and impact – be measured?
- Can common indicators and tools relevant to the Indian context be developed to improve the comparability and consistency in measurement of life skills outcomes?
- What can different stakeholders – educators, entrepreneurs, researchers and foundations – collectively undertake so as to move the needle for life skills in India?
The discussion served as a step towards understanding and sharing innovative efforts taking place, addressing common challenges and discussing ways in which our children can be prepared for better educational and future outcomes.