Are we lacking the basic skill set?

A couple entered an ATM capsule and spent half an hour withdrawing cash from their various cards.

The line that had formed outside began to get agitated, but the couple refused to come out until their transactions were completed.

The moment the couple emerged, the crowd explained to them that when a transaction might take too long, it is courteous to finish it one by one, letting others with shorter transactions to finish, rather than occupy the ATM for half an hour. The couple fought back saying “This is India, we have no need of courtesy or to think of others.”

This statement portrays what we think of ourselves. If children were taught to be courteous, punctual and show leadership skills, there would be less violence or aggression in the country and we might head towards becoming a country that is developed as well as civilised.

What are they?

Life skills are extremely important in this day and age. The reason for this is globalisation. In the next decade, international interaction is going to increase dramatically. But how are they relevant in our day-to-say existence?

Indians have an awful reputation when it comes to etiquette and work ethics. It’s not that we don’t have them in our culture, we do and in abundance, it’s just that we consider these skills to be old wives tales, to be forgotten once we cross the threshold of adulthood. It is time to take a good look at our interaction skills.

A Japanese ex-pat discussed this subject at length. She works with Indians every day and this is what she had to say, “We like India and we like living here, but it’s really difficult. While Indians are good at heart, they have no knowledge of politeness, punctuality or responsibility when it comes to work.

While India can really catch up with the developed countries, this lack of etiquette and drive holds them back. But not everyone is like this. Indians have a reputation for being hard workers but lacking basic manners.”

The Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust teaches slum and village children life skills. They give the children separate classes on life skills and after a year, work with their parents as well.

“The first thing we saw when we began classes was children kicking each other and using foul language. When asked why they did that, the children said they’d seen their parents kicking each other,” says Usha Visvanath, a volunteer with the Trust.

“Children believe anything their parents do is good and imitate that behaviour. This is the largest obstacle we have because whatever they learn with us sometimes gets undone when they go home.”

So if we can all begin by setting an example for the younger generation to follow, we might just end up bettering ourselves too. While Indians have finally come to terms with the fact that education must not be compromised if we need jobs, they should also come to terms with the fact that life skills are a must if quality jobs are to be had.

Life skills should become a part of our education system and children must be taught to respect public property and be polite to each other.

Comments (+)