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Policy brief

Project Sampoorna – Findings from the IDinsight survey

Policy Brief: How ready is the Jharkhand public education system in implementing SEL? - 1,010 KB

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Why is socio-emotional learning important for whole child development?

Socio-emotional skills help students successfully navigate evolving circumstances within and around them, learn to manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and beyond. Studies show a positive impact of socio-emotional learning (SEL) on many aspects of students’ lives, including academic performance 12, school graduation, and attendance rates. Better socio-emotional development can also build a positive school culture, leading to increased engagement, better relationships between students and staff, and improved school safety3. Overall, SEL is an essential component of a comprehensive and well-rounded education.

Adolescents’ socio-emotional development is influenced by all facets of their lives and interactions with others. The family environment, relationships with peers and teachers, socio-economic status, and cultural background are among the primary factors that shape an adolescent’s social and emotional development4. Specifically, supportive school environments can enhance an adolescent’s self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making skills5. Teachers can play a key role in developing social and emotional skills in students, which can further lead to academic and long-term success6. In contrast, social isolation, bullying, and discrimination can hinder an adolescent’s socio-emotional development and lead to emotional and behavioural problems that can continue into adulthood7.

A focus on socio-emotional development is critical in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the world witnessed an alarming increase in out-of-school students and worsened mental health among students8. School closures exacerbated feelings of loneliness, stress, and depression. Studies show that extended periods of isolation have lingering effects on students’ mental health and impact their education and social inclusion9. Many students might have also experienced grief or trauma related to the loss of loved ones, financial instability, or other pandemic- related stressors. Integrating practices that support social-emotional development in schools can go a long way to alleviate student distress, build resilience, and contribute to whole child development.

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  1. 1. Schonfeld, D. J. et al. (2015). Cluster-randomized trial demonstrating impact on academic achievement of elementary social-emotional learning. School Psychology Quarterly, 30(3), 406–420.
  2. 2. Sorrenti, G., Zolitz, U. (2020). The Causal Impact of Socio-Emotional Skills Training on Educational Success. IZA DP No. 13087.
  3. 3. Jensen, S. (2021, July 12). Three ways SEL supports a positive culture and climate. Retrieved from Satchel Pulse:
  4. 4. Durlak, J., A., Weissberg, R., P. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development SRCD, 405-432.
  5. 5. Eccles, J. S., & Roeser, R. W. (2011). Schools as developmental contexts during adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1), 225–241.
  6. 6. Jackson, C., K. (2018). What Do Test Scores Miss? The Importance of Teacher Effects on Non–Test Score Outcomes, Journal of Political Economy, vol 126(5), 2072-2107.
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  8. 8. Loades, M et al. (2020). Rapid Systematic Review: The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Context of COVID-19. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(11), 1218–1239.
  9. 9. Cowie, H., Myers, C.-A. (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and well-being of children and young people. Children & Society, 62-74.