Emirati Youth expect quality of work improvement from lifelong learning: Survey

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Almost three-quarters of young United Arab Emirates nationals 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, a new survey revealed.

The vast majority of participants said COVID-19 has made lifelong learning more important.

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The poll canvassed 200 members from the Federal Youth Authority (FYA) initiatives, all of whom were Emirati, with 15 to 35-year olds accounting for 83.25 percent of all participants, while 15.71 percent were aged 35 to 50. Only two FYA members included in the survey were older than 50.

The FYA collaborated with Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan Series 2021 to run the survey on the heels of the Majlis’ latest session titled: ‘Lifelong Learning: Unlocking our future Potential,’ which included His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Exploring the extent to which the concept of lifelong learning resonates with Emirati youth, two-fifths (39 percent) 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.

A seagull flies pass the view of city skyline and the world tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (File photo: AP)
A seagull flies pass the view of city skyline and the world tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (File photo: AP)

Learning through conversation was preferred above any other means of learning, including through social media or through reading.

The survey revealed that nearly half (44 percent) 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 percent) said they are currently learning within their profession, while over two-thirds (68.5 percent) 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 percent 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 percent saying they are most interested in developing professional skills, versus 32 percent who are more interested in personal skills.

For over half (53 percent) of the surveyed youth, learning in groups is most preferable, while nearly a quarter (25 percent) favour learning by reading, and 21 percent would opt for social media as the learning platform of choice. Some 22 percent prefer to learn alone, while 25 percent 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 had an impact on their motivation to continue on the journey of lifelong learning, and a whopping 95 percent asserting that COVID-19 has made lifelong learning much more important.

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