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Reimagining life skills: UNICEF’s global framework on skills, from theory to practice

Tue, April 16, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Pacific Concourse (Level -1), Pacific B

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session


The complexity of the present and future world means that learners must be equipped to navigate unexpected challenges ahead. Globalization, new technologies, migration, changing labour markets, gender inequality, and transnational environmental and political challenges demand new skills and knowledge needed for work, citizenship and life in the twenty-first century. Thus, there is much discussion on the skills children and adolescents will need to become healthy, productive and active citizens of the world.
Given the many available Life Skills Education (LSE) frameworks, UNICEF aimed to create a single framework that increases programming consistency across the over 150 countries worldwide where we work. This LSE holistic framework supports our close work with government and other stakeholders focused on improving the quality of education at country and regional levels. In this panel we present UNICEF’s new framework, its gender responsiveness and how it has been translated into learning objects in countries such as Palestine.
Paper one will present the components of the new UNICEF Skills for All framework that rests in the following pillars:
• Holistic approach to quality education: aimed at empowering individuals who can effectively fulfill their civic responsibilities while also being successful in the context of school or work.
• Rights-based approach: quality education is not value-neutral, it needs to promotes human rights-based values and fosters human dignity for all girls and boys, and especially the most marginalized.
• Lifelong learning: skills development is cumulative from early childhood through adolescence and adulthood.
• Multiple pathways and systems approach: skills development occurs through multiple learning pathways (e.g. formal and non-formal education, the workplace and community), and through different modalities that can reach all individuals. Furthermore, LSE can more effectively contribute to quality education when embedded in education systems.
This framework is also geared toward contributing to improving gender equality in education. Although much progress has been made globally in terms of equal access to primary and lower secondary education for girls and boys, gender inequalities in teaching and learning persist. Gender norms are at the root of gender inequalities in education, reinforcing stereotypes and curtailing empowerment and educational opportunities for both girls and boys. Through LSE that is holistic and rights based UNICEF can contribute to improve the gender responsiveness of education systems so that gender differences in learning, skills development and transition to the workplace are progressively eliminated. Paper two, explores persistent gender gaps in terms of life skills development and focuses on the potential of UNICEF’s new framework to address these gender gaps.
However, developing a framework that addresses global challenges in terms of skills development and that is gender responsive is not enough. To make a difference, our new framework needs to be translated into teacher preparation and design of learning materials aligned with national curricular frameworks that support effective skills development. Within this context, paper three explores how to translate the new framework into practice through the design and application of gender-responsive learning materials that support teachers in enacting student-centred pedagogies in the classroom in the context of the State of Palestine.
Overall, this panel addresses two key questions central to advancing the ongoing global debate on skills development:
• How can we support the systematic development of a breadth of skills, at scale, across the life course?
• How can we develop skills in a gender-responsive manner to address the needs of girls; and also be effective in engaging boys in gender equitable behaviours and attitudes?
Furthermore, it will provide an overview and initial findings of a promising practice in supporting teachers in education systems as they aim to support their student develop a breadth of skills.

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