What are the global issues that prey on the minds of the UAE’s youngsters?

According to Cambridge International’s first-ever Global Perspectives survey, it’s climate change. The assessment body that provides international qualifications surveyed students from 12 countries, of which the UAE was the only Arab nation.

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Over 11,000 students (aged 13 to 19) who participated in the study voted on global issues that they consider a priority. Pollution came a close second after climate change. But instead of hand-wringing, these youngsters aim to fix these problems and are already working towards it, reveals the poll: 80 per cent of the students surveyed want to pursue careers that will help them contribute to solving global issues. A majority also emphasised the efforts they currently take to raise awareness about the climate crisis and pollution.

‘We hope that the findings of this study can be a valuable resource on how to effectively engage with students and make them a part of the global discourse on sustainable development,’ says Waseem Al-Hanbali, Cambridge Assessment International Education Regional Director, MENA.

The study is definitely an eye-opener for educational institutions in the UAE as 43 percent of students said they don’t learn about or discuss important global issues in school despite wanting to. The digital natives, however, turned to the internet and social media for information about global issues that they care about but still expressed a desire to engage in discussions in the classroom.

The study is also one employers should sit up and take notice of, as it outlines the aspirations and priorities of youngsters who will make up the future workforce:  around 72 per cent of the students who participated said that potential employers’ attitudes to key global issues would steer their job applications.

The study hopes that these findings are a valuable insight on how students can become a part of the global discourse on sustainable development.

The survey was conducted leading up to Cambridge Global Perspectives Week, which runs from March 1-7.