Saudi Youth and Political Awareness
Jafar Mohammad Alshayeb - 1 / 9 / 2014 - 1:27 pm

Afaq Center for Studies and Research has published a summary of theses by Ammar Ali Al-Hamoud, a student in Social Studies Department at King Saud University in Riyadh, entitled “Political Awareness among the Youth and its Role in the Development of Saudi Society”.

Such study are extremely important in our society were there exist no research centers and independent studies that provide the accurate details, especially those related to young’s issues and their orientations.

Although the survey was limited on one hundred male students from almost the same cultural environment, it represents an important start for further studies and systematic scientific research on youth issues.

The study consists of seven chapters, among them the general framework of the study and methodology of the study. In the third chapter, the researcher explained the meaning of awareness, citizenship and development after dealing with the methodological process of the study and finally the results of the empirical study and related recommendations.

The study results showed that the largest percentage of Saudi young people considers concerning with local issues comes at the first level (54%), then Arabic (43%) and finally the international one (31%).  Most students depend on social network media as the main source to follow political developments (50%), then television and press and finally friends and family. Regarding credibility of the news sources, most of the students trust their surroundings such as family and friends more than any other source.

Around the interaction with the municipal election, the study results showed that the majority of young people believe in the importance of municipal elections at the national level, yet they are not concerned to participate in elections (56%) and 95% of them do not encourage friends and family to participate, too.

On the other hand, the results were neutral regarding voluntary work and civil society activities where there is public acceptance (54%) because of being more useful to the community in addition to other Incentives. 55% of the students said that “voluntary work organizations are not qualified enough.

About the factors behind the weak involvement in politics among young people, the majority believe that the family plays an important role, where most families warn their children from talking or participating in political activities (40%). The second factor friends (26%), then lacking skills and knowledge (32%), finally not having enough time.

Despite the belief of the importance of political participation at the national level among young, the researcher pointed that the lack of clear political vision and fear from direct confrontation with the government form the most prominent reasons of not participating.

The study showed that facilitating political and social participation requires establishing high qualified centers in each region (63%), founding guidance and training units and organizations for young people (61%), conclusion of political participation materials in curriculum (51%) and setting encouraging incentives to attract young people (49%).

The study affirmed the desire of young people to increase their opportunities in political participation despite the lack of ambition because of family and friends influence and the limited fields of participation in general. The study also demanded states agencies to provide safe environment for young people to participate in political activates instead of raising fear among them 




This article was originally published in Arabic in Al-Sharq Newspaper, Saudi Arabia (Issue #1001 dated August 31, 2014).