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August 04, 2020 Tuesday 01:26:40 PM IST

How to Develop Relationship Capital Through Education?

Rajagiri Round Table

There is a popular phrase, "No man is an island". Man is a social animal and needs to get connected not isolated at all times to survive any crisis. The Covid-19 has once again brought to the forefront the need to remain connected with each other at all times. However, the media is filled with news about people suffering in quarantine because society isolates them. Even family members are not allowing people who require quarantine to enter their own house.
Expatriate community who contribute largely to the growth of Indian economy through remittances were seen with distrust and spreading the epidemic in society. Health workers who toil day and night to provide relief to the sick putting their own life at danger were treated badly in many places. The pandemic has increased marital discord, created ruptures in relationships between family members and this in turn can have a negative impact on growing up children too. Along with millions of refugees, people of the world are floating rootless in the vast ocean of disconnected world!

It is often said that oaks are not watered! Huge trees in the forest do not wait for somebody to water them to get rooted. They spread their roots and search for water on their own and grow big. How will we teach the next generation learners the ways of oaks to establish themselves in relational capital? The pandemic has underscored the need to sustain relationships through social networkingand helping each other at the emotional level sustaining and nurturing relationships.

Success for children was measured in terms of grades achieved in school which creates an element of comparison and competition among them. Now it has been recognised that Intelligence Quotient (IQ) only measures a restricted aspect of human personality. Earlier good education was seen as a passport to a high paying job or career. As technological disruptions take place, old jobs or careers are vanishing and the new age child needs to develop temperament to face not only career setbacks but financial crises, relationship problems and several other issues as he or she gets ahead in life.


Philip Daniel, Corporate Trainer
In a highly competitive world, sometimes empathy and survival of the fittest concept seem to be in conflict. However, very few successful leaders have been able to rise and retain their position for a long time without having strong emotional intelligence.

Janani Ramanathan, Senior Research Analyst, The Mother's Service Society, Pondicherry
Peer to peer learning can be facilitated by making the students teach each other, or their juniors. Written assessment can be replaced by presentations and seminars where students present their learning to their peers, because we learn best when we teach others. These and several similar measures can be made a part of the daily routine, whether online or later in the physical classrooms, so that competition is replaced by collaboration right from the beginning.

Dr Varghese Panthalookaran, Professor ,RSET
Providing  support for nurturing relational and emotional quotient of a child is like growing an irrigated plant. They will be reluctant to strike its roots deeper in search of water. Root development being driven by the ‘thirst’ of a plant, a fully quenched plant may not bother to develop its rootedness and will remain dependant on irrigation and foregoing deep-rootedness.

Hillary Hinchliff, Principal, Gems Modern Academy

In order to ensure emotional well-being of the students we need to start at teacher level. Teachers need an understanding of their own emotional well being before they can support the students. This needs to be planned for through Career Professional Development (CPD) that focuses on creating a climate of openness and trust amongst the staff.  It involves organising sessions and seminars on emotional intelligence, training leaders, middle leaders and then teachers on coaching techniques, systematically developing a coaching culture in school.

Dr Elsie Oommen, Consultant Psychiatrist, Medical Trust Hospital
Amygdala is the part of the brain that controls emotions and it can trigger an emotional response well before the cortical centre where a person thinks logically has fully understood what is happening. The quality of emotional feeling helps students to give their best potential in the class so that they become more attentive in sessions, have more healthy relationships, more empathic, regulate their behaviours and eventually earn higher grades in school.

Sujata Gautam, Clinical Psychologist, New Delhi

Family plays a vital role in developing emotional intelligence in the child. The first lessons on manners are inculcated from family values. Children observe how family members interact among themselves. Family values become the base as strong as rock bed for development of his or her individuality.

Sunila Athey, Principal, Amity International School, Ghaziabad
Emotional intelligence can be developed with creativity and ingenuity on part of the teacher and combining co-curricular activities with the academic curriculum.  When we see rising cases of children being effected by emotional disturbances, anxiety, depression, hyper activity, the need is felt to conceptualize and incorporate creative activities that not only cater to the 'head', but also to the 'heart'.

Radhika Rele, Vice Principal, Birla Public School, Doha-Qatar
Schools should have a  robust Life Skill Curriculum along with the academics . This should include awareness for social bonding, teasing and bullying, substance abuse, social abuse, developing courage with confidence, social responsibilities towards the opposite sex, teenage issues, sexual habits or inclinations, and more. Partnering/enrolling with parents is crucial for the success of this program. 

Thomas George, Corporate Trainer

Learning should connect with the problems faced by society at large and people around us. There should be discussions on topics such as impact of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the environment, the harmful effects of colour additives in food processing, how can we overcome the caste system, is death penalty warranted, effects of global warming on regions, what are the benefits of Internet of Things (IoT), how do we revamp the health care system, how can reduce infant mortality, how do we solve the traffic congestion, how do we improvise a simple business process and so on. This will generate curiosity and group participation among students.

The challenge before educational leadership is how to ensure the holistic development of the child. The curriculum should be evolved in such a way that Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), Social Quotient (SQ) and Adversity Quotient (AQ) are developed. Common sense requires that one accepts and celebrates diversities as necessary condition for better synergy and creativity. A world of monolithic and unitary culture is thoroughly boring and disgusting, just like a garden with single type of flower, however beautiful it is.

Every individual again is unique in every respect and the ability to synergize the beautiful in the diversity is the art of life. The next-generation students shall be imparted with the ability to synergize everything that us true, good and beautiful in and around them. They shall get facilitated for the same at schools. So called elite schools promote "monoculture" and that is the reason why statesmen/women are not born out of them!

Entrepreneurship is being able to jump off a cliff and build a plane on the way down, described Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. Today, we have all become entrepreneurs, voluntarily or involuntarily, trying to build our planes or improvise parachutes even as the pandemic and its consequences impact every aspect of all our lives. It is possible, even as we try various combinations of online, distance, tele and home schooling, to bring about a positive change in our education paradigm?  In fact, this crisis can be an opportunity because the pressure of these strange times has created an opportunity that no normal circumstances could have done.


#Family plays a primary role in instilling values, respect for each other and  an openness to discuss problems and come up with solutions.
#Education process shall take care to make all learners well-rooted so that they remain resilient in the face of adverse life situations.

#Students should be systematically led towards maturity with respect to relational quotient and they shall be equipped to properly synergize with others in developing solutions for the pertinent problems affecting the society.

# Curricula should strike a critical balance between supportive and coercive frameworks aimed at developing relational capital of students.

# Students shall be developed in spiritual maturity, irrespective of the religion or ideologies they are subscribed to.

# The net relational capital of the educational institutions shall be improved by insisting on personal freedom with responsibility and by providing team support for the individual initiatives in tune with the shared vision and values of the institution. To make it happen, educational institutions shall be liberated from the overly emphasis on bureaucracy, leaving sufficient room for creativity.

# Excellent team players shall be appointed at the leadership positions of educational institutions, who shall lead the institution by example continually improving its relational capital.