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June 30, 2022
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UNICEF draws attention on importance of teens’ noncognitive skills to be successful in life

The importance of the noncognitive abilities for the teenagers, considering the way in which their social and emotional skills do influence a successful personal and professional life, was emphasized on Wednesday at a round table organized by the UNICEF.

“Those who have not gained these skills early in their childhood could learn when teens. Adolescence is always present as a problematic period. But adolescence is an excellent opportunity to learn whatever one has not acquired as a child. That is also the time to develop each person’s potential, so that they could become active members of the society,” said Sandie Blanchet (photo), the UNICEF representative in Romania.

She expressed hope that after such debates, teens will no longer be looked at as difficult, problematic youths, but as older children trying to find their way in life and need the grown-ups guidance, be they their parents, educational staff or other persons in their environment who could represent a positive example.

To motivate her viewpoint, Sandie Blanchet presented the cases of two youths whose path in life was not influenced by their material wealth, but by optimism, perseverance, ability to overcome difficult situations and their self-esteem.

“Studies show us that these noncognitive abilities are those which guarantee our success. And, when I say success I mean not only a career success, but wellbeing too (…),” said Daniela Dumulescu with the Faculty of Psychology of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca.

She drew attention to the fact that there are many children who, despite their being Olympians or heads of class at school have no success at work or even in higher education, and studies show that in this case the emotional skills of ‘networking’ with others make the difference.

Eduard Petrescu, a programmes’ coordinator with UNICEF said that Romania is in the middle of a reform process, considering that a very high number of young find it hard to adapt to the current conditions, being a high degree of unemployment among them.

Simona David Crisbasanu, who presented the outcome of the “Noncognitive skills development in teens of Romania” study mapped out that volunteering is a way to develop social and emotional abilities.

Liliana Preoteasa, director with the National Education and Scientific Research Ministry added that the current moment is favourable to promoting social and emotional skills.

“On the one hand, the curriculum is changing. On the other hand, there is this project (Romania Secondary Education Project – ROSE). Schools must act to offer the children what they need. They need more training in some disciplines? School could do it. But it is a very strong component of personal development, of social and emotional skills’ development – explicitly mentioned in our future handbooks – of coaching, of counseling and professional orientation – meaning exactly what the Romanian educational system lacks, in my opinion,” she added.

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