Abu Dhabi: A study of nearly 3,000 Emirati youths has shown that more than nine out of 10 — 91 per cent — believe the UAE is looking at an even brighter future, even as the world undergoes major transformations over the next 50 years.
The study, commissioned by the Mohammed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations, was released today following a series of sessions on Sunday that connected the youth with ministers and industry bigwigs. The third MBZ Majlis was also the first time the event was held virtually and it saw more than 13,000 youths in attendance.
“The findings of the study, highlighting the confidence of Emirati youth in the future of the nation, reflect the positivity and clearly-articulated vision of our leadership. With a focus on nurturing youth talent and enabling them to realise their full potential, the UAE has outlined a strategic course of action to provide world-class higher education to the youth and prepare them for the jobs of the future. Alongside, there is a strong emphasis on building a local innovation ecosystem and boosting entrepreneurial abilities. All these lay the foundation for building the next 50 years as we march towards the Centennial 2071 goal to be the best nation in the world,” said Mohamed Al Nuaimi, Director of the Education Affairs office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.
“Conducting this study was a key part of the third Majlis, as it provides us evidence-based insight and a wealth of data on the views of Emirati youths on the future of the country and the world. The optimism of our youth inspires us further as our leadership brings new and dynamic platforms to accelerate the nation’s progress,” he added.
What did the Emirati youths say?
About global changes:
74 per cent of young Emiratis expect the world to go through significant changes over the next 50 years.
56 per cent believe the upcoming changes will leave the world better off than it is today.
Predicted drivers of positive change:
Technological innovations and advancements, space exploration, renewable energy and scientific progress.
About their goals:
28 per cent of Emirati youths say that contributing to the UAE’s well-being and prosperity is the most important goal for them.
23 per cent say that creating a stable and happy family is their most important goal.
15 per cent say that pursuing a successful and fulfilling career is their most important goal.
90 per cent of Emirati youths currently studying abroad say they plan to return home to start their professional careers.
About higher education:
87 per cent of Emirati university students say they are satisfied with the quality of higher education they are receiving.
90 per cent say their educational resources and quality of coursework meet or exceed their expectations.
91 per cent say they are confident they will be able to achieve their professional goals.
86 per cent say their education has equipped them with the most important skills to succeed professionally.
About the impact of COVID-19 on education:
45 per cent of Emirati youths feel the pandemic has had a negative impact on their higher education experience; 49 per cent of Emirati university students say they will like to see a mix of online and in-person coursework after the pandemic.
16 per cent say they prefer to continue with remote learning permanently.
About mental health:
75 per cent of Emirati youth surveyed said their mental health was excellent or good.
25 per cent said their mental health was not good or poor.
44 per cent said the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.
66 per cent say their current mental health is not good or poor.
78 per cent say educational pressures are the top stressors they face.
50 per cent cite uncertainty about future employment as the top stressor.
53 per cent say the COVID-19 pandemic is their top stressor.
About the UAE’s priorities:
74 per cent of Emirati youth say that preserving the Emirati culture, values and traditions should be a top priority for the UAE over the next decade
74 per cent also say that increasing technological innovation in the UAE should be a priority.
72 per cent say the UAE should prioritise diversifying its economy
71 per cent want the UAE to prioritise the preservation of the Arabic language over the next decade.
About future technologies:
81 per cent of Emirati youth believe technology is a driver of positive change.
81 per cent say technology is a force for good and positive progress.
70 per cent want the UAE to further invest in AI over the next decade.
29 per cent want the UAE to invest more in robotics.
27 per cent want more UAE investment in 5G.
24 per cent want too see more investment by the UAE in big data and analytics.
23 per cent want more investment by the UAE in drone technology.
About social media use:
49 per cent of young Emiratis say social media is mostly a force for good and positive progress.
39 per cent think social media can cause more harm than good.
84 per cent of young Emiratis use WhatsApp on a daily basis.
73 per cent of young Emiratis use Instagram daily.
72 per cent of young Emiratis use Snap daily.
43 per cent of young Emiratis use YouTube daily.
40 per cent of young Emiratis use Twitter daily.
79 per cent of Emirati youth say they get their news on social media.
43 per cent use online news portals to get their news.
22 per cent rely on television for their daily news.
10 per cent get their daily news from newspapers.
6 per cent of Emirati youths rely on the radio for daily news.
24 per cent of young Emirati say social media will be one of the greatest drivers of global change over the next 50 years.
About future careers:
25 per cent say climate change will be the biggest driver of global change in the next half century.
66 per cent would be interested in pursuing a career in the tech industry.
62 per cent of young Emiratis would be interested in pursuing a career in renewable energy.
52 per cent of Emiratis are interested in a career in healthcare.
52 per cent of young Emiratis would be interested in a career in aviation.
47 per cent of young Emiratis would be interested in a career in oil and gas.
82 per cent of young Emiratis within a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programme would like a career in renewable energy.
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The survey was conducted in two phases by PSB Insights, a global research and analytics consultancy. The first phase was an online quantitative survey, completed between October 25 and November 9, 2020, covering 2,974 young Emirati students, of whom 2,629 are in the UAE and 345 are pursuing degrees abroad. The second phase included four qualitative focus groups conducted with Emirati university students including undergraduates, postgraduates, and members of the Emirates Youth Council.