Home LearningDid You Know? Emirati Youth are 85% More Likely to Prefer Learning through Conversations rather than Social Media

Emirati Youth are 85% More Likely to Prefer Learning through Conversations rather than Social Media

by Eddie Rayner

The Federal Youth Authority (FYA) has 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 entitled ‘Lifelong Learning: Unlocking our future Potential’,which included 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 by engaging in conversations with others – such as older family members, older members of society, mentors, or peers – reflecting 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 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 positively impact their creativity and innovation.

The survey canvassed 200 members of the Federal Youth Authority initiatives, all Emirati nationals, with an estimated statistical margin of error of 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.

Federal Youth Authority (FYA) conducted a Youth Survey poll in collaboration with Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan Series

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.”

H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui: The UAE Government believes in lifelong learning as a way to achieve excellence and support the UAE Centennial 2071 vision

The survey revealed that nearly half (44%) of respondents believe lifelong learning will make their lives happier and 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 most significant advantage of lifelong learning, followed by 63.5% who believe it would create more professional opportunities and renewed self-motivation.

Three-quarters say lifelong learning improves the quality of work, and nearly half consider it essential for their professional careers

According to young people, developing a new professional skill is more interesting than developing a new personal skill, 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 preferred, while nearly a quarter (25%) favour learning by reading, and21% 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.

95% of participants said Covid-19 has made lifelong learning more important

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 has had an impact on their motivation to continue on the journey of lifelong learning. A whopping 95% assert 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 to stimulate thought and debate on critical social aspects during the holy month, a traditional time for reflection and a focus on the community.

All four Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan Series episodes are available to watch on the MBZ Majlis YouTube Channel.