Reconceptualised life skills in secondary education in the African context: lessons learnt from reforms in Ghana

Akyeampong, Albert (2014) Reconceptualised life skills in secondary education in the African context: lessons learnt from reforms in Ghana. International Review of Education, 60 (2). pp. 217-234. ISSN 0020-8566

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Abstract

Early notions of life skills in Africa did not take into account the importance of a flexible and portable set of skills that would enable youth to adapt to changes in the world of work and lay the foundations for productive well-being and behaviour. Rather, life skills education in many secondary education curricula in Africa started with an emphasis on developing specific technical vocational skills considered essential for employability or self-employment. Using Ghana as an example, this paper shows how secondary education curriculum reformers recommended shifts that embraced a new interpretation of life skills focused on 21st-century skills. This gradual move also reflected the difficulty that secondary education in general has had in networking with the world of work to provide work experience that would lead to the development of work-related skills and enhance employability. The author’s main argument is that although the reconceptualisation of life skills in secondary education to reflect 21st-century skills is a welcome shift in the African context, this needs to be accompanied by reforms in teacher education. Classroom teaching and learning need to be adapted in a fundamental way in order to ensure that youth fully benefit from the inclusion of 21st-century life skills in secondary education curricula. Such reforms must include pedagogical practices which nurture communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking skills.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Life skills Youth employability Technical and vocational skills Secondary education Teacher training Ghana
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: H Social Sciences
L Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary education. High schools
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education
Depositing User: Pascale Fanning-Tichborne
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2015 16:38
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2015 16:38
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/53145
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