UNICEF MENA Life Skills and Citizenship Education - Conceptual and Programmatic Framework

The Life Skills and Citizenship Education (LSCE) - Conceptual and Programmatic Framework (CPF) has been developed as part of a regional initiative in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), led by UNICEF. The LSCE Initiative brings together partners at the country, regional, and global level to support a holistic, lifelong, and rights-based approach to education in MENA. The framework focuses on cognitive and non-cognitive skills for learning, employability, personal empowerment, and active citizenship. Across these four dimensions of learning, 12 core life skills have been identified as most critical in the MENA region.

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UNICEF MENA Life Skills…learningemployabilitypersonal empowermentactive citizenshipcreativitycritical thinkingproblem-solvingcooperationnegotiationdecision-makingself-managementresiliencecommunicationrespect for diversityempathyparticipation

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Framework is the result of an extensive review of national, regional, and global definitions of life skills that examined how life skills and citizenship education are conceptualized and taught in MENA (see Analytical Mapping of Life Skills and Citizenship Education in MENA, 2017) and draws from country and regional consultations/technical meetings with more than 600 national, regional, and global stakeholders from multiple sectors
  • Emphasizes that the 12 core life skills are not 'set in stone' but meant to guide discussions, debate and adaptation at the country level, considering the different contexts and challenges in education and learning in each country
  • Framework is not value-neutral but instead emphasizes skills related to human rights and dignity with the goal of enhancing social cohesion alongside individual performance and achievement
  • Outlines general social and economic challenges in MENA that highlight the need for life skills and citizenship education, including underperforming education and employment training systems, gender and income inequality, and the impact of conflict and violence
  • Lists multiple pathways/channels of delivery for developing life skills, including both formal and informal education, the workplace, volunteer and community organizations, and government
  • Highlights the important role the climate of the learning environment and quality of the teacher play in the acquisition of life skills

Developmental Perspective

  • Notes the importance of investing in life skills education from an early age, and the lifelong nature of learning and life skill development
  • Recognizes that the four dimensions of learning and their associated life skills are interconnected and mutually reinforcing and therefore outlines how each life skill is relevant for each dimension of learning, regardless of where it is situated in the framework
  • Highlights the importance of tailoring teaching and learning strategies to different age groups and outlines general strategies for developing life skills across three learning periods: early childhood, basic education, and post-basic education
  • No learning progression provided

Associated Outcomes

  • Describes how each life skill is linked to positive behavioral and life outcomes related to school, work, and society as well as physical, psychosocial, and economic wellbeing, citing any available evidence

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • Website provides a wide range of global, regional, and country-specific references, tools, and videos related to life skills; citizenship education; employability; and institutions, initiatives, and networks, some of which are general and some of which are related specifically to the framework
  • Guide designed to help country-level offices develop and implement life skills and citizenship education programs in alignment with the framework
  • Analytical Mapping report provides detailed description of mapping and review of national, regional, and global definitions of life skills that examined how life skills and citizenship education are conceptualized and taught in MENA

Programs & Strategies

  • Notes the importance of a holistic approach to life skills that spans multiple subject areas across the curriculum
  • Aligns each dimension of learning with subject areas commonly used to promote life skills within that dimension (e.g., academic, health, vocational, peace, civic, arts, environmental education, etc.)
  • Lists a set of pedagogical strategies and teaching and learning principles that support the acquisition of life skills, providing detailed descriptions and some specific examples of each

Measurement Tools

  • Highlights the challenges associated with life skills measurement, including the lack of frameworks and tools available to measure life skills with a publication that reflects on evidence, approaches, and available tools for measuring life skills to be released in late 2019
  • Cites examples of various instruments used to measure life skills and is in the process of developing a standardized instrument for national large-scale assessment of life skills across the school-aged population informed by research on the evidence, approaches and tools currently available for measuring life skills (to be released in late 2019)
  • Proposes a three-level approach to M&E that includes frameworks and indicators to assess initiative impacts and outcomes, pathways and systems outputs and processes, and life skills and citizenship education learning outcomes
  • Provides recommendations for continuous assessment of life skills, including type and format of assessment activities

Key Publications

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