Develop non-academic qualities for success in life

It is interesting that Nobel laureate James Heckman believes that boosting cognitive skills or raising academic scores alone does not determine success in the development of children in early childhood education ("Is kindergarten too late?"; last Sunday).

Socio-emotional and character development may play a bigger role in helping children grow up to be successful in life subsequently.

In fact, intelligent children brought up without the other important areas of development may end up as arrogant brats and even intelligent crooks.

Parents need to realise that it is not enough to send their children for enrichment programmes; they need to spend time with them to inculcate moral values, interpersonal skills and empathy, so that these children will become well-balanced members of society.

Parents themselves have to be role models in order to achieve this; it is not achieved by nagging and hardline discipline, without love and positive examples.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 28, 2015, with the headline 'Develop non-academic qualities for success in life'. Print Edition | Subscribe