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Life skills


Formal and non-formal Life Skills-Based Education (LSBE) Initiative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Palestinian Definition for Life Skills

"The abilities we need to solve our problems, cope with pressure, search for positive changes and promote available positives in order to improve our situation and reach security, peace, harmony with the society and the environment"

How did the LSBE Initiative start in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)?

The LSBE initiative arose as a need in two ongoing programmes:

  • Health Promoting Schools Project: This project aims to help pupils adopt healthy lifestyles through the utilization of action-oriented teaching methods at school. In a Health Promoting School, LSBE helps to reinforce students' positive health behaviors, avoid risky behaviors and thus prevent health problems
  • Global Education Project: This project promotes the development of responsible Palestinian children. Through this project, LSBE helps children to develop skills to interact within their own community and the outer world.

The Initiative is supported by UNICEF and coordinated by the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Affairs, UNRWA and non-governmental organizations.

The project started with the training of a core multisectorial group in LSBE who became the driving force for the Initiative by:

  • Developing a Palestinian definition for life skills
  • Forming a Life Skills Technical Committee that advises on the development, implementation and evaluation of the LSBE programme
  • Drafting LSBE materials (LSBE lessons focused on issues identified as priorities for each age group: 6-9 years, 10-12 years, 13-16 years)

What are the objective and strategies?

The objective is to mainstream LSBE in the national curriculum in 40 pilot primary, secondary and vocational schools. The strategies to reach this objective include:

Developing a national policy commitment to provide sustainable LSBE initiative for all children.

  • Mainstreaming LSBE throughout departments at the Ministry of Education, for example, Training, Counselling, School Health, Curriculum Development Center. An internal committee made up of focal co-ordinators of each department has been established.
  • Conducting orientation workshops for central and regional level policy makers at the Ministry of Education (60 policy makers have been trained)

Promoting collaboration among governmental and non-governmental organizations in addition to UNRWA to support the incorporation of LSBE in and out of schools.

  • Representatives of these organizations participated in the initial training and are part of the Life Skills Technical Committee.
  • Non-governmental organizations have implemented life skills education in the form of non-formal education programmes.
  • UNRWA representatives piloted draft life skills lessons in their schools.

Developing resources needed for the implementation of the LSBE initiative (including trainers, teachers, and materials like Teachers Worshop Manual, and life skills-based lessons).

Supporting a long term process that ensures integration of LSBE into the Palestinian curriculum:

  • The initiative will start with a pilot in 40 primary, secondary and vocational schools where all the teachers will be trained in LSBE and will use the sample lessons and manuals prepared;
  • Piloting of LSBE in 40 schools will provide the curriculum developers with feedback for the integration of LSBE into the Palestinian curriculum.
  • Following the piloting, and as the first phase of integration of LSBE into the Palestinian new curricula, LSBE will be in the curricula of grades 4 and 9 by the year 2003.

What priority issues have been identified for the LSBE in OPT?

Age Group (6-9): Personal Hygiene
Age Group (10-12): Violence Prevention
Age Group (13-16): Tobacco Use

What are the lessons learnt to date?

  • Develop a strong commitment among high level policy makers in the Ministry of Education to ensure support in implementation;
  • Mainstream LSBE in all the departments involved at the Ministry of Education;
  • Provide intensive workshops for the Training of Trainers with follow-up training sessions and minimal time intervals between modules;
  • Do not start from scratch in the development of LSBE material. Review existing programmes to generate ideas for style content then adapt into material that is culturally relevant;
  • Work closely with curriculum developers from the beginning of the initiative especially in the development of LSBE material;
  • Involve teachers in the development of LSBE lessons. They will understand the classroom environment and identify points of entry in the existing curricula;
  • For the pilot project, select schools whose administration, including the principal, would be supportive of the initiative.

How will the Initiative measure its impact?

Process indicators such as the following will be tracked through district level staff:

  • Number of trainers and teachers
  • Number of schools piloting LSBE
  • Number of lessons implemented
  • Development of LSBE material

Indicators related to knowledge, attitudes and skills of adolescents reached by the Initiative will also be measured. For example, to measure the impact of the smoking prevention curriculum for adolescents, the Initiative will look at:

Knowledge: harmful effects of smoking; children's rights violated by smoking; manipulation of cigarette companies

Attitudes: Negative attitudes toward smoking; adolescents smoking are not cool; media is manipulating children; willingness to discourage peers who smoke

Skills: use critical thinking skills to analyze advertisements; resist peer pressure to smoke; acquire positive methods for dealing with pressure; communicate messages to their peers.


Read an interview with Jumana Haj-Ahmad, UNICEF Development and Participation of Adolescents Programme, Occupied Palestinian Territory, June 2002


OPT Summer Camps and National Declaration




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