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The education system, the Arab youth’s n°1 concern

Only recently launched in 5 countries of the Arab world (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon), Generation What?’s campaign has already revealed surprising results.

Generation What? allows millennials, the generation aged from 18 to 34 years old, to draw the portrait of their generation, country by country, through an online questionnaire of over 150 questions, written by an international team of sociologists.

When looking at the answers to “What are the three issues that you worry most about?”, the least we can say is that the first tendencies are very strong.

Users have to choose three answers among 16 propositions.
In the five countries concerned, the “education system” is by far the one that millennials are the most concerned about. 51% of them rank this issue in the first position.

“The health system” arrives second (40%), just before “getting a job” (38%). “Insecurity” is ranked fourth (32%), followed by “the recession and the financial crisis” (27%). Three other concerns are ranked roughly the same:

  • The environment (20%)
  • Spending power (20%)
  • Access to housing (19%)

Morocco (60%) and Tunisia (63%) are the countries that show the most concern about the school system. Algeria also ranks it at the top, but only at 46%.

This first general tendency is only but a sketch for now – we will have to wait six months to get the consolidated results, as the current sample only contains 2,500 young people – but it is what strikes the most the sociologist who have already worked on the survey: this concern is not specific to the Arab world.

In Europe too, one of the youth’s three main concerns is the education system. 28% of the 18-34 year-olds who took Generation What?’s survey rank it in their top three (37% in France). Even in countries known for their excellence in education are touched (Germany, Switzerland).

School is criticized even on its founding principle: merit and equality. The youth believes this ideal has failed.

– 70% of young Arabs who took the survey do not agree with the idea that “the educational system rewards the deserving” – they’re 68% in France, and 55% in the whole of Europe.

– Equal chances are not honored: 59% of young people do not agree with the idea that “everyone has their chance in the current educational system” (68% in France, 54% in Europe) regardless of the gender.

But their questioning of the scholar system goes further. Although school should be – on a short and long term – a tool to ease professional integration, eight young people out of ten (78% of young Arabs, to be precise), consider that the education system is not efficient to enter the job market. In France, they were 87% and in the whole of Europe, 74%.

The idea that there is a real gap between the education you receive at school and the work field seems confirmed and final.
Young people’s trust in school is affected. 57% of them do not trust it (50% in France). Only 11% of young Arabs, 6% of young French, 8% of young Europeans who participated to the

Generation What? survey say that they totally trust it. This is very few! And this is absolutely unprecedented.
There is clearly a strong gap between the education system and the youth, whether Arab or European. Never to this day had large sociological studies on youth measured such a deep trust crisis, even in the 60s – a period of great protests against the system.
Finding this tendency everywhere is a sure sign. Whether the education system be richly sustained as in Germany or Switzerland, or be particularly deteriorated as in some regions of Europe or of the Arabic region, results are globally the same. Above all, they prove that the way to teach, the content taught and the adaptation to the 21st century’s expectations are questioned.

NB: only the French data has been “consolidated”. The European data is raw, and can be found of all of Generation What? websites. For the moment, the Arab data sketches tendencies that will get more precise throughout the upcoming weeks.