MEA News

Emirati Youth Are 85% More Likely to Prefer Learning Through Conversations Rather Than Social Media

Federal Youth Authority (FYA) collaborated with Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan Series 2021 to run a survey targeting members of FYA initiatives on the heels of the Majlis’ latest session titled ‘Lifelong Learning: Unlocking our future Potential,’ whichincluded His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The survey explores the extent to which the concept of lifelong learning resonates with Emirati youth. Two-fifths (39%) of respondents said they prefer to learn new information through engaging in conversations with others – such as older family members, older members of society, mentors, or peers – which reflects the Emirati traditions of communal solidarity and passing wisdom down through the generations. Learning through conversation was preferred above any other means of learning, including through social media or through reading.

Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of participants said they expect their quality of work to improve through lifelong learning, with continuous education also expected to have a positive impact on their creativity and innovation.

The survey canvassed 200 members of the Federal Youth Authority initiatives, all of whom Emirati nationals, with an estimated statistical margin of error 7%. Youth aged 15 to 35 made up the bulk of the sample, accounting for 83.25% of all participants, while 15.71% were aged 35 to 50. Only two FYA members included in the survey were older than 50.

The accompanying Majlis virtual session brought together H.E. Sara Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Chair of the UAE Space Agency, Chair of the UAE Council of Scientists, and Deputy Project Manager of the Emirates Mars Mission; Prof. John Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University Abu Dhabi; and Saku Tuominen, Founder and CEO of HundrED, a global non-profit education organisation dedicated to children.

Commenting on the session, Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, noted: “The takeaways from this session are a testament to the UAE leadership’s commitment to investing in our human capital and harnessing the full potential of our youth. These commitments are built on the principles set by our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The UAE’s public and private organisations mirror these valuable lessons and embrace them as a national roadmap guiding this country.”

“The UAE has created a modern model that ensures sustainable investment in human capital by creating a supportive, nurturing, and enabling environment for youth. We believe in the value of research and lifelong learning as pillars supporting our vision,” H.E. Al Mazrui added. “The UAE Government believes in lifelong learning as a way to achieve excellence. We recognise that informal learning experiences support the UAE Centennial 2071 vision, and help establish an optimal growth environment for generations to come.”

The survey revealed that nearly half (44%) of respondents believe lifelong learning will make their life happier and they want to engage in it moving forward. More than a third (35.5%) said they are currently learning within their profession, while over two-thirds (68.5%) said they expect their creativity to get a boost from lifelong learning.

Two-thirds of Emirati youth interviewed see improved self-confidence as the biggest advantage of lifelong learning, followed by 63.5% who believe it would create more professional opportunities and renewed self-motivation.

Developing a new professional skill is more interesting than developing a new personal skill according to the youth, with 36% saying they are most interested in developing professional skills, versus 32% who are more interested in personal skills.

For just over half (53%) of the surveyed youth, learning in groups is most preferable, while nearly a quarter (25%) favour learning by reading, and 21% would opt for social media as the learning platform of choice. Some 22% prefer to learn alone, while 25% would like to do so with one other individual.

At the conclusion of the survey, almost all of the young people surveyed agreed that  more can still be done to encourage lifelong learning in the community, with over half claiming that the COVID-19 pandemic as had an impact on their motivation to continue on the journey of lifelong learning, and a whopping 95% asserting that COVID-19 has made lifelong learning much more important.

The lifelong learning session was the latest session of the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan Series, which covered three additional topics of discussion this year: Human Fraternity and Peaceful Coexistence, Global Health, and Community Resilience. Each subject was selected with the aim of stimulating thought and discussion on important social aspects during the holy month, a traditional time for reflection and a focus on the community.

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