India Glossary of Life Skills

The Teacher Foundation

November 26, 2021


“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” William Gibson

This 2003 pronouncement couldn’t be more appropriate now, living as we are, in a world that has been battered by a virus just as we entered the second decade of this millennium!  Schools and education systems are confronting the question of how they will function in a post-pandemic world. One thing that is certain in an uncertain world is the necessity and importance of Life Skills. 

The ‘Social Cohesion in a Post-Covid World’ Report by the University of Auckland’s Centre for Informed Futures  (2020) states, “A resilient society is one that not only addresses the challenges created by crises but finds opportunities to transform positively, in order to thrive in a changing environment……At the same time, we must also acknowledge the unaddressed issues that existed before the crisis and give greater emphasis to addressing these. We now need to find ways to sustain and build off this platform or else, it would be a lost opportunity if the advantage was not taken for a human and society-centred reset.”

Steering the life skills conversation forward 

The Life Skills Collaborative (LSC)  is a significant initiative to catalyze a better distributed, more human-centred re-set for India’s youth and the Indian education system.

In this regard, The Teacher Foundation’s work on developing an India Glossary of Life Skills is a significant LSC milestone. The first version of the Glossary is just out, and it has been a truly consultative and collaborative exercise. This Glossary promises to be the touchstone for developing young India’s human potential.  The Glossary will help both, amplify and enrich nationwide conversations around Life Skills. 

There is no existing framework for life skills that comprehensively defines each skill, provides how each skill could be demonstrated by a person, and what the other related life skills are! Hence, the LSC Glossary is not just a vital resource for India, but also for the entire South Asia region.

Development of the India Glossary 1.0

We began with many questions. Should it be a framework, a taxonomy, or a glossary? What would be the advantages of a glossary over a framework or a taxonomy? What skills should feature in the Glossary?  Which existing frameworks should we research? What other research is available on specific life skills to help us understand the nuances of each skill? And many more!

We discussed and pondered with LSC partners as well as with 50 national and international experts we identified. We reviewed 63 existing frameworks for Social-Emotional Learning, 21st Century Skills, and Life Skills poured over research publications, online journals, reports from UNICEF, WHO, OECD, and many others. 

It was a painstaking multi-step process that can be best illustrated as an infographic as shown below. The honest feedback and generous inputs that we got at each step,  from our colleagues in the LSC  became our Northstar, steering us into shaping the Glossary in its current form – as Version 1.0! 

Do spare some time to review Glossary 1.0. We look forward to your comments and suggestions.


"The educational systems should rely on three solid foundations: enhancing values, life skills, and formal educational curriculum. Each of these bases completes the other, none of them can stand on its own. "

- Noora Ahmed Alsuwaidi