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Building State Partnerships to Empower Adolescents

Game On: Explore 5 Playful Pedagogical Approaches

In the coming years, there will be a large-scale shift in jobs as technology and automation become deeper entrenched in everyday life. However, most young people are not being trained for the occupations of tomorrow. This means their current skill set will be obsolete when securing stable employment in the future.

The Widening Skill Gap
Today, over 50%[1] of employers value 21st-century life skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, and communication, as some of the top job skills. By acquiring these life skills, adolescents can develop into resilient and adaptable young people who are better prepared for the future. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has also emphasised the need for socio-emotional development through 21st-century life skills education, to equip adolescents “to become good, successful, innovative, adaptable, and productive human beings in today’s rapidly changing world”.[2]

Strengthening the Education System
India’s government school system serves over 60%[3] of the country's adolescent population - particularly those from vulnerable communities. To align government school curriculums with the NEP, state government bodies are building new educational machinery. The government can boost its efforts to promote the spread of 21st-century life skills education and strengthen the education system, by partnering with non-profit organisations.

Scaling up the Spread of 21st-Century Life Skills

Since 2019, Magic Bus India Foundation has been implementing a government school-based 21st-century life skills education programme for adolescents from grades 6 to 10, by leveraging teacher training. The organisation equips government schoolteachers to deliver 21st-century life skills through experiential and activity-based sessions. The capacity building of teachers includes training, personal reflection and application. This training enables them to effectively transfer the knowledge to their students through activity-based sessions. Magic Bus India Foundation has recently signed MoUs with the state governments of Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh Assam and Odisha to expand the 21st-century life skills education programme.

ASSAM: Magic Bus India Foundation will work with the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, Assam to implement a sports-based 21st-century life skills curriculum in 10,000+ schools. The organisation will build the capacity of 10,000+ teachers and reach over 2.2 million adolescents in the first year.

ANDHRA PRADESH: Through a partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh, Magic Bus India Foundation aims to empower 1.3 million adolescents across 26 districts in three years. To efficiently deliver 21st-century life skills, the programme will adopt a teacher-led sports-for-development approach. Sports are a powerful tool to impart knowledge to adolescents in a fun and easy-to-understand way.

MIZORAM: In Mizoram, Magic Bus India Foundation is working with the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, to integrate 21st-century life skills into the Social Science curriculum. The intervention gains flexibility and sustenance, by equipping teachers with processes to deliver 21st-century life skills education, in the classroom as well as on the playground.

ODISHA: In Odisha, 21st-century life skills education will be integrated with the state government’s new Aspirational Curriculum, which combines project and application-based learning for Class 9 and 10 students. Magic Bus India Foundation will equip 8,800+ government teachers to deliver 21st-century life skills to 1.8 million adolescents.

A Self-Sustaining Delivery Model

The MOUs signed in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram and Odisha will benefit over 5.4 million adolescents and 33,000+ teachers, across more than 25,800 government schools in the four states, particularly those from tribal, rural and peri-urban areas.

To achieve a sustainable 21st-century life skills education delivery model in line with the NEP, Magic Bus India Foundation works with government bodies to co-create a contextualised curriculum per each state’s educational requirements. This includes government bodies and institutes such as SCERT, SSA, Tribal Welfare Department and the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET).

Members from each group come together to form State and District Resource Groups (DRGs) that are trained in 21st-century life skills education and equipped to impart the same knowledge. By integrating innovative technology, the organisation is enhancing the learning experience, providing support and monitoring programme delivery. In this manner, a cascading and self-sustaining model of 21st-century life skills education delivery is established.

Partnering for Progress

As 253[4] million Indian adolescents transition from childhood to the workforce a staggering one-third will lack a higher secondary qualification. Out of these, just 2 in 5 individuals will possess the essential soft skills necessary for employment. By partnering with the government, organisations can scale up the spread of 21st-century life skills education across India, strengthen the education system and minimise the skill gap. This is also a significant step towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals of promoting quality education and reducing inequality.

[1] World Economic Forum, 2021
[2] National Education Policy 2020 – 4.23
[3] Unified District Information System for Education (UIDSE+)
[4] National Health Mission