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Emotional intelligence into school curriculum

  • New programme to be piloted next year

An emotional intelligence learning programme is due to be introduced to the school education system of Sri Lanka, beginning with a pilot project in 2022, The Morning learnt.
Speaking to The Morning, State Ministry of Education Reforms, Open Universities, and Distance Learning Promotion Secretary Dr. Upali Sedara said that the role of emotional intelligence is important on both academic and personal levels.

The pilot project would commence using 100 schools and it would be fully implemented in 2023, Dr. Sedara further said.

“Students with higher levels of emotional intelligence are able to better manage themselves and relate to others around them. This can help them develop improved self-motivation and more effective communication skills. However, we need to implement this from primary-level education.”

According to Dr. Sedara, during this era of accountability and standardised testing, school leaders have been inundated with reform models that seek to increase student achievement. However, without effective leadership at the school level, most of these reform efforts are likely to fail.
Speaking about the impact of student leaders, he stressed that emotional intelligence scholar Daniel Goleman had stated in 1998 that the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way – they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence.
“When it comes to intelligence, students are highly aware of developing and enhancing it by learning new things at a fast pace. However, the overwhelming focus of student life is placed on increasing one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ). While IQ is important to achieve success and holds you in good stead when it comes to technical or hard skills, it is the presence of an Emotional Quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence that will support you when you face hard times. This is what we plan to develop in Sri Lanka,” Dr. Sedara added.
According to Dr. Sedara, EQ can matter more than IQ in areas like self-motivation, self-awareness, relationship skills, emotional control, and empathy. These EQ skills, when developed proactively during a student’s influential times in the school, can be the pillar for future success during the course of their lives and careers.
“I have seen people who work 100% by IQ but EQ skills are less than 60%. They do not know how to live with others or work as a team. They have no discipline. Stress is the only thing left in their lives. We need to have a workforce with EQ so that they know how to work with people and society,” said Dr. Sedara.

He also added that faith in EQ skills will decrease the increasing family disputes and divorces in modern Sri Lanka.