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Using Bahrain''s Youth as a Model - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A recent study conducted in Bahrain focusing on youth issues revealed some important findings that provoke a reconsideration of many of our educational, social and economic methods. The study, which was issued this year and conducted by Dr Anisa Fakhro aimed at examining the psychological and social tendencies of youth towards themselves and others.

The results first indicated that 33% of the participants were positive in their self-portrayal, feeling happiness and self-satisfaction. The study revealed that 17% were negative in the way they perceived themselves and would express feelings of wanting to commit suicide or suffering from extreme depression, a figure that is relatively high considering the gravity of the phrases. 49.5% that they were unsure.

In another part of the study, the researcher referred to a high percentage of psychological and social fears found amongst the youth. Only 20.8% answered normal while the percentage of slight disorder was 66.6%. The percentage of those who suffer from a serious disorder was 4.1% whilst 8.5% did not answer. This means that the percentage of a fearful youth represented more than 75% of the sample. The study revealed a lot about family, school, girls and the media. It was varied between being positive sometimes and negative at other times. However, the researcher thought that the most important factor was the lack of understanding on part of family regarding their role towards their adolescent children, the deficiency of school in their required role and duty towards adolescents and youth, the problem of free time, poverty, the number of family members, and their being unconnected.

The youth of Bahrain are not the only ones with such problems in fact they are shared by most adolescents of the Arab world. Relative indicators will not differ much in their results to that of Bahrain and the news that surrounds us is the largest proof of this.

Future prospective and unemployment are undoubtedly on top of the list of concerns for young people. The economic situations of a number of countries indicate the absence of planning, and a negligent attitude towards the problem. This negligence of psychological and social problems of the youth would affect Arab society in numerous ways such as disobedience, aggressive behavior and carelessness.

The percentage mentioned above concerning the amount of youth who consider suicide, is proof of the link between frustration and failure and desperation and fear of the future.

Aims and ambitions of the youth are great according to the study that shows that 98% of the individuals of the sample are positive towards achieving their goals and personal ambitions despite the diversity of these aims. 64% replied that their personal target is to obtain a degree and a job to improve their standard of living. On the other hand, 16% answered that their target is to be satisfied with themselves, while only 11% considered increasing their knowledge as their aim.

Would we be repeating ourselves if we said that formulating a special strategy for the needs of the youth is a national duty? If it does seem repetitive, that is simply because our demand is not heard. This issue does not only deal with building football fields and leisure centers for the youth. The issue runs deeper and it reaches the amount of expenditure on education that must increase to cope with the development in performance. Civil and educational institutions must intensify their efforts to raise the awareness of youth. Family care for youth must go beyond providing food, clothes and transport to school. The youth must be encouraged to participate by expressing their opinions and ideas through the media in addition to nurturing student and youth organizations, supporting them to play a role in decision-making. Finally, finance should be directed to scientific research that serves national strategies concerned with the youth.

Mohammed Al-Jazairy

Mohammed Al-Jazairy

Born in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Al-Jazairy is the only accredited journalist to address issues such as education, unemployment, special needs, religion and social behavior among today's Saudi youth. With his personal experience of Saudi culture and society, Mr. Al-Jazairy has been popular amongst young Saudis and the older generations for his emphasis on the development and well-being of the adults of tomorrow.

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