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Life skills

Health promotion

Using the broadest view of health, life skills-based health education can be applied to almost any health-related issue or content area. The development of life skills can help young people to take greater responsibility for their own lives and to practice healthy behaviours.

In Zimbabwe and Thailand, the impetus for initiating skills-based health education was the prevention of HIV/AIDS, whereas in Mexico and The Caribbean, it was initially the prevention of adolescent pregnancy. Other focus areas in the USA include alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse. In other instances, more comprehensive approaches have focused on a range of health and social topics or issues addressed in one program such as "Life Orientation" in South Africa, "Integral Education" in Colombia and "Health and Family Life Education" in the Caribbean.

Many countries are now considering the development of life skills-based education in response to the need to reform traditional education systems which appear to be out of step with the realities of modern social and economic life. For example, a life skills project in Armenia was implemented in response to educational reforms, urgently needed in the face of current social, political, economic and cultural realities and challenges.  It included health education as well as other subject areas such as: An Individual and His/Her Relationships, Making Friends and Having Friends, Human Relationships, Home and Family, Community and Society, Healthy Lifestyle, Environmental Protection, Conflict Management, and Sexual Education.



What distinguishes Skills-Based Health Education?

  • Programme objectives include individual change to adopt health promoting behaviour.
  • Balance in the curriculum for the development of:
    1) knowledge,
    2) attitudes and values, and
    3) life skills.
  • Participatory teaching and learning methods used.
  • Student-centered and Gender-sensitive programme.
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