EDUCATION is the root of all good things in life. The advanced technology that leads to the inventions of state-of-the- art gadgetry, medical miracles to cure unimaginable diseases, means of transport from bicycle, car, airplane, electric train, space shuttle, hybrid car, and so on. All of which were started from education, either formally gained (through schools, courses, and other educational institutions) or informally experienced (through family, environment, friends, and other forms of social learning). The learning process itself affects the true potentials of each individual. There are learning processes that enhance Intelligence Quotient of the pupils, and some focus on the development of students’ Emotional Quotient. If IQ-based education emphasizes on the ability to solve problems and material retention (calculation, memorization, implementation, etc), the EQ-intended education works on the capability in behaving socially and positioning in the existing circumstances.
In the near past, educational experts consider high IQ is the predominant factor of success, because IQ is more influenced by God-given genetic factor and education or self-development programs can hardly ever elevate the IQ level. But today, the experts reshape their conception of EQ, which now they suggest more important than IQ in determining individual and collective success. Especially where EQ can be developed as high as possible throughout every person’s life span, unlike the predetermined IQ. EQ can be matured through socialization and self-development that will train our emotional or soft skills (the capability to conduct purposeful conversation, to take leadership position, to decide appropriate actions on each social circumstances, etc).
Why is EQ considered to be more important than IQ nowadays? Because, to become a great leader, a world figure, or a very important person, it takes leadership skills, charismatic characters, and congenial natures toward others, as a leader have to be able to persuade or motivate his or her people toward common goals. If a leader relies heavily on IQ alone, without sufficient EQ, then he or she will not be able to perfectly express his or her mind to others. And that kind of people are destined to work behind the screen, unknown by strategic publics who can help them to reach the top positions. On the other hand, equipped with excellent public speaking skills, someone with less IQ may surpass the high-IQ persons, as people would perceive him or her as an intelligent, authoritative, and charismatic leader.
And so is the working world, the ones with outstanding soft skills are most certainly becoming the leaders for others, even people who are much smarter than them in terms of IQ. No matter how smart a person is, if he or she cannot suitably position him or herself among others, then he or she is doomed with a dead-end job.
Although it is now believed that EQ is superior than IQ, ironically, Indonesian education system still imposes a system that more focus on IQ enhancement programs, which is apparent from the curriculum and learning process applied at schools. The emphasis is on reading, solving textbook problems, and the assessment test on both learning processes. Surely, these will not develop the unveiled EQ potentials and creativity of the students. By applying such education system, Indonesian human resources will always be employed by foreign businesspersons.
Even Indonesian graduates who have high IQ are only destined to be employees in their own country, as they cannot compete with overseas graduates who have better soft skills.
To transform Indonesia’s education system into a system that highlights on balanced development of EQ and IQ of the students, then the learning process and curriculum must teach the students through problem-solving discussions, class presentations, and working on a notion of making the world a better place, also the most important thing is to hold comparative studies to other countries in annual study tours for all schools in Indonesia to create competitive edge over other countries’ students and to develop our students mental skills as future leaders.
If Indonesia does concern about transforming its education system, then it will be a developed county in the next 20 or 30 years, as it will have nurture a generation of mature, competitive, and highly creative leaders. And it will be an advantage for a country with enormously vast natural resources like Indonesia. As a country with geographical and natural advantages, Indonesia has everything a country would need, including massive assortments of natural resources, perfect climate, fertile land, and large numbers of human resources. But if the human resources are not fully developed intellectually and emotionally, then Indonesia will only be a rich cow that can be milked by foreign countries, who exploit our natural resources to the last drop.
Indonesia will be able to be a developed country if it can maximize its education system, emphasizing on a balanced combination of EQ and IQ. Only by then, Indonesians can be masters of their own fate in their own country. (William Xue)
Jakarta Globe, November 17, 2009