Exploring social capabilities and life skills of students and the role of schools in promoting the same: A mixed-methods study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr Nusrat Fatima Rizvi


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


In the 21st century, schools are expected to invest in children’s holistic development, including academics, social capabilities (SCs), and life skills (LSs). In Pakistan, the national educational policy also considers these crucial aspects of child development. However, there is hardly any evidence from the country regarding students’ development of such skills and capabilities. Considering the knowledge gap, this study investigated the SCs and LSs of students at the end of their secondary schooling (Grade 10). Furthermore, the study also explored the perspectives of school stakeholders [students, teachers, and school leaders] about the role of school experiences in enabling students to acquire SC and LS in government, low-fee (LFP) and high-fee private (HFP) schools of Sukkur city, district Sukkur, Sindh.
The study employed a mixed-methods sequential explanatory design. For quantitative data, a cross-sectional survey having a 5-point Likert scale was used to gather data from Grade-10 students (n=263; Female=130 & Male=133) from the government, LFP, and HFP schools (n=8). Additionally, qualitative data was gathered from a representative sample consisting of students (n=16), teachers (n=8), and school leaders (n=4), using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. The quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics (Mann-Whitney U), whereas qualitative data were analysed using thematic.
The quantitative data revealed that most of the students considered SCs as self-awareness, holding a progressive worldview, having key interpersonal/communication skills, and having a sound awareness of local contexts. Regarding life skills, the perceived LSs were considered a good mix including personal care, cooking, cleaning, and cultural and artistic skills. Relatively, a small number of students were found capable of using first aid and/or dealing with emergencies. There is no significant difference in SCs and LSs of students across school systems. However, private school students’ social awareness and overall social capabilities were relatively higher. And HFP schools’ students have relatively higher scores on worldview than LFP. The qualitative data showed that schools despite their subtle roles have a profound impact on shaping the students' beliefs and practices.
This study sets forth recommendations for policy and practice to include students’ holistic development as part of children’s school experience and the need for further research exploring the role of society and personality traits in the development of SCs and LSs.

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