The teaching of values and life skills in India is sporadic and largely fact based as there is no single comprehensive values and life skills curriculum, either at national or state level. Thus, what children learn about moral values, health, physical and mental fitness, hygiene and life skills is episodic and subjected to the theoretical knowledge obtained through the teachers and parents. Further more, there are no such programs that take developmental and comprehe- nsive approach to values and life skills teaching as fun, at the primary grades.
Thus. for the most important learning years, Indian children are not equipped, either by their parents or by their schools, to deal with the contemporary health hazards and moral turmoil as well as to develop the ability to handle simple situations, that are typical of developing such as ours.
The Indian education system needs informed citizenry with the capacity to access, use and manage information in its own interest. Needless to say, more interactive teaching methods, with its emphasis on students participation in the learning process, will serve as a better model for preparing students for their better future.
The curriculum addresses the issues related to health, hygiene culture, etc. keeping in account the following concerns:
- The need to move away from information-based and teacher-center education to process-center and learner-friendly education with a focus on how to think rather than on rote learning.
- The need to introduce to children major concerns such as nutrition, yoga and fitness, disease prevention, growth and development, social and emotional health, consumer health, environmental health, safety, conflict resolution/violence prevention, character building and awareness about our environment in a developmental manner.
- The need to instill life skills through practical activities that enhance students to learn how to be a critical thinker and problem solver, a responsible and productive citizen, a self directed self-esteem building, decision-making, effective communication , goal setting and stress management.
- The need to nurture the inherent abilities of self expression and creativity in children and inculcation in them the aesthetic sensitivity toward the arts.
- The need to motivate children towards a disciplined living. The tips for regular exercises introduced and related to the chapters motivate children towards a healthy and disciplined way of living.
- The need to develop respect in children for manual work, dignity of labour , hard work, tolerance, co-operation, caring and sharing attitude, patriotism, feeling of oneness, etc. as well as the need to understand their cultural and historical heritage , the need to care for existing public facilities and their surroundings.
- The need to help children to become an aware consumer and guide their purchasing largely to be need-based rather than being desire-based.
- The need to insert an in-built evaluation system, developed in accordance with the needs and abilities of students into the teaching-learning. This alone can enable the class teacher to monitor the progress of the child with the reference to his or her need and abilities.