As once-hallowed social institutions strain under the burden of changing norms, parents, governments and the corporate world are increasingly looking to schools to help equip the new generation with problem-solving skills for daily living. Skills that will help them effectively negotiate the constantly evolving environment at work, at home and in the community. The good news is that many educational institutions are convinced that life skills education should no longer be a mere afterthought.

However, both early adopters and the cynics are looking for hard evidence to substantiate the touted benefits of life skills education.

The impact of a life skills education program on students of two secondary schools was assessed through comparison with matched adolescents from neighbouring schools in the district that did not have the life skills education program.

Assessment tools included the Rosenberg Scale of Self-Esteem (RSES, Rosenberg 1965), Preadolescent Adjustment Scale (PAAS, Pareek et al. 1975), Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES Jerusalem and Schwarzer 1995), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire – Self-Report Version (SDQ SRV Goodman et al. 1998) and teacher feedback on observable changes in student behaviour in the classroom.

Results showed that the adolescents in the program had significantly better self-esteem, perceived adequate coping, better adjustment generally, specifically with teachers, in school, and prosocial behavior.

Empowering adolescents with life skills education in schools – School mental health program: Does it work?

Bharath Srikala and Kumar K. V. Kishore, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Indian J Psychiatry. 2010 Oct-Dec; 52(4): 344–349.

Leo Fernandez

Leo Fernandez is CEO and Co-Founder of TalentEase Pte Ltd. Leo is passionate about making a difference. With 18 years of leadership experience, Leo has spent his career bringing together high-performance talent, crafting winning partnerships with clients and developing solutions for business change. Prior to founding TalentEase, Leo was a Partner with Accenture, based at Singapore.

He has an abiding interest in the Asia Pacific region and in showcasing it as the region to drive global innovation and step change. His current projects involve education and micro-entrepreneurship. He has a Bachelor’s in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration. He currently splits his time between Singapore and India.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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