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Vox Pop: What are the three most important skills a child should learn?

UNESCO Bangkok Director, Gwang-Jo Kim, said in his recent interview: “One of the greatest challenges for education systems today is keeping pace with a changing world of work and equipping youth with the skills they will need in an increasingly knowledge-based economy.

“[This] calls for creative and inventive thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, the ability to generate new ideas, adapt to new realities and maintain a sense of curiosity throughout learning,” he said.

UNESCO commissioned 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which focuses specifically on the issue, noting that the challenge of ensuring all young people have the opportunity to acquire the skills they need has sharpened acutely since the year 2000.

But what skills are the most important? What skills should we all be learning today?

Participants at a recent Asia-Pacific Regional Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda shared their views on what are the three most important skills young people should learn.


Urvashi Sahni, Study Hall Education Foundation, India

“Children should be thinking critically about who they are and how they relate to their world around them, in a social and political perspective with a focus on peace, equity and sustainable development. They must be learning how to be literate and numerate, be problem solvers and be resilient.”

Vutha Lay, NGO Education Partnership, Cambodia

“They need soft skills to be good citizens, vocational skills for employment and basic education to equip them with knowledge.”


Sikander Sabeer, National Youth Movement for UN Post-2015 Development, Sri Lanka

“Firstly, they need to learn about culture – culture is a kind of glue, it keeps us together. It’s like tea with sugar – it creates flavour and the colour we need. Secondly, values and respect. Do we respect our parents and elders enough? Are the gaps here increasing? We need to keep in mind that education comes from home – our families are the first “teachers” in our lives. They are crucial to us so respect and values are important. Thirdly, history – we should know our past so we can improve our future.”

Govind Singh, Council of Pacific Education, Fiji

“For a child to work across a huge spectrum of life, they will need life skills, core values and the opportunity to unlock the treasure within.”



By UNESCO Bangkok