Need for ethics and life skills in school education

Would you throw a ten rupee note into the waste-paper basket? Of course, not. Then why do you waste ten minutes of your valuable time in an activity that is not worthwhile? The recently launched revised edition of the "Living in Harmony: A course on values education and life skills" series for the students of classes one to 10 have many insightful advices like the one mentioned above that a student can depend on.

Published by Oxford University Press, each book addresses the need for peace education expressed in the national curriculum framework. At a time when value education is not compulsory in many schools, the series offers great hope. It discusses 84 key values, suggested by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in each series. “Each of these ten books gently turns the child's gaze both outward and inward to take a much broader view of life,” said Mini Krishnan, series editor of "Living in Harmony".

It was in 2005, OUP first brought out the “Living in Harmony” series to create awareness among students about social values and life skills. Some schools have included values education and life skills in their syllabus. Apparently, many schools, particularly the government-run schools, are yet to include it in the curriculum. “Ethics and life skill education has no place in today’s schools. Some schools have recommended the subject following the NCERT's guidelines but it is not considered important in many schools,” said Mini.

Supported by teacher’s manuals and CDs for extra back-up, the series have undergone four revisions since its launch in 2005. The revised edition has lessons on sensitization to caste and gender respect. A page inside the “Living in Harmony” series for Class 10 has an appeal to students why we need craggy mountains and flowering gardens besides the importance of maintaining farmlands and factories. “The series is our contribution to the crucial task that lies ahead for all of mankind and offers an educational package that has been carefully designed to develop our children’s value systems. Each book incorporates these values thorough stories from history, folk tales, fables, real-life events and world literature. There are stunning illustrations and photographs that accompany the text,” she said.

A Selvaraj, a retired headmaster, said children must be trained in values education and life skills. “Many schools today don’t give much importance to life skills and human values of peace, love and cooperation. The OUP’s initiative is good, but I think more schools should come forward and incorporate it in their curriculum,” he said.
Source web page: Times of India

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