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Life skills

Originally defined by the World Health Organization as a group of psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner. Life skills are not normally seen as a domain, or a subject, but as cross-cutting applications of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes which are important in the process of individual development and lifelong learning. They are not just a set of skills, nor are they equal to survival skills, livelihood skills, or vocational skills but are part of these skills. (Source: UNESCO 2004a). In some cases the term is used as an equivalent of key competencies/skills, and in certain contexts it is used to indicate a subject area. For UNICEF life skills are part of a rights-based approach to learning. Children are fundamentally entitled to quality education that respects their dignity and expands their abilities to live a life they value and to transform the societies in which they live. Child-friendly schools promote and enhance life skills.

See also ‘Child-friendly environment’.

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