Attitude is the key to success for young Mexicans

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The program covers more than 4,000 public high schools. Photo: Ministry of Higher Secondary Education (SEMS)
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Young man at the Center for Marine Technology Studies (CETMAR), Acapulco, Guerrero. Photo: Ministry of Higher Secondary Education (SEMS)
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Construye T seeks to train young people to face their own challenges and manage their emotions. Photo: UNDP Mexico
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Alumni of the College of Bachelors of the State of Oaxaca Squad 7 Tuxtepec. Photo: UNDP Mexico
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Kevin receives the award for second place in the drawing contest. Photo: UNDP Mexico
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Ceremony for the winners of the Construye T drawing contest. Photo: UNDP Mexico

 “ ‘A drop of water can wear through a stone’ when you really want to do things," said Frank Kevin González Torres, a 18-year-old Mexican student and one of the winners of the Construye T Drawing Contest, a competition that brought together 4,000 students from around the country.

Construye T is a joint initiative of the Undersecretary of Higher Secondary Education (SEMS) of Mexico and UNDP. It contributes to the development of the socio-emotional skills of high school youth through participatory programmes, training workshops for teachers and principals, and specialized materials.

Highlights

  • 25,000 teachers and principals of 2,500 high school students were trained in socio-emotional skills.
  • Construye T committees were formed on each campus, mobilizing around 43,000 members of school communities.
  • Around 2,000 school projects and more than 9,000 youth projects were carried out, of which 80 percent and 48.7 percent respectively were aimed at improving school coexistence.

Through Construye T, the educational system aims to train youth to meet their own challenges, develop their self-esteem and talent, control their emotions, and enjoy good interpersonal relationships. Good socio-emotional skills can help empower young people and prepare them to make better decisions about their lives in the future.

Currently, the programme covers more than 4,000 public high schools for around 3 million young people, making it the largest programme in the world related to the development of socio-emotional skills. It aims to promote the wellbeing of youth and generate a healthy coexistence in school spaces.

The programme provided training on socio-emotional skills to more than 25,000 teachers and principals of 2,500 high school students.  Practical and informative materials designed for students, teachers and principals were developed, including computer graphics, videos, technical documents, and activity sheets.

In addition, Construye T Committees were formed on each campus, mobilizing approximately 43,000 members of school communities. Around 2,000 school projects and more than 9,000 youth projects were carried out, of which 80 percent and 48.7 percent respectively were aimed at improving school coexistence. These ranged from radio projects, dance competitions, and artistic expression to murals and recycling projects

The mechanics of life

For Kevin, recognition for his work in the Drawing Competition is one of the greatest achievements of his life. He studies during the day and works at night in an automotive parts manufacturing factory in order to save for a move to a major city to study interactive technology in digital animation.

“The programme is like a mirror that helps you know yourself, know what to change and what to leave as it is," he says.

In Mexico, studies indicate that only one-sixth of high school students have a high level of perseverance, two-tenths have decision-making skills, one-seventh know how to properly handle stress, and only two of every 100 have a high level of empathy.

Marcia de Castro, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Mexico, highlights "the importance of socio-emotional skills in the context of education of Mexico in promoting the well-being and success of youth and generating a healthy coexistence in school spaces.”

According to Kevin, "We young people often stray. We do not believe in our potential. We limit ourselves because people tell us that we are very young. But we can have a voice and vote in the decisions of society, family, and the country. We are not the future, but the present, although sometimes we are told otherwise. If we have to build the country, we have to first build ourselves."

For youth, socio-emotional skills are part of the attitude one takes in the circumstances and challenges of everyday life. "Success is having the best possible attitude that allows us to get where we want to go, without forgetting the value of those who are part of our lives," he says. This is how "the extraordinary mechanics of life work”.

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