Youth Dynamix (YDx), a youth-specialist consultancy research body has published worrying and questionable research findings that many of us South African youths are disillusioned, Biz Community web site reported today.
According to the said research – also published on the research body’s web site here – about 62% of the 10-15 year olds believe that they are not going to find employment in the future in the country while a further 95% of them [10-15 year olds] believe that the only way to get a good job is through education. This is confusing and here’s why…
According to United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), a youth is defined as a person between the ages of 15 and 24. Unesco understands very well that young people are a “heterogeneous group in constant evolution and that the experience of ‘being young’ varies enormously across regions and within countries”. This is also true, according to Wikipedia, which defines youth as a “time… between childhood and adulthood (maturity)” and acknowledges that the definition varies according to age and that “an individual’s actual maturity may not correspond to their chronological age, as immature individuals could exist at all ages”.
What is further confusing for me as a reader and youth is that Biz Community reported that YDx research as indicating that “some 63% of 10-12 year olds and 77% of 13-15 year olds agree that the government is not living up to its promises”. However, reading from YDx summary on its home page, this is not true.
This could not have been true because the summary on the researcher web site had indicated the statistics as mentioned on the second paragraph of this article and went even further to say that if education was so thought to be that “vital” by 57% of children between the ages of 10-12 alone, then wondered why were they of the “opinion that there is little or no employment in South Africa”, including about 66% of the 13-15 year olds and further asked why they were seeking entertainment instead of information.
It is not clear why YDx chose to use samples of children between the ages of 10-12 or 13-15 as youth which is clearly contrary to Unesco’s definition of youth.
The research, as reported by Biz Community, indicated that about 62% of 10-15 year olds and 73% of 16-24 year olds said it was “impossible to get a job inSouth Africa”. This has since somewhat driven about 31% of the 10-12 year to thinking of migrating permanently while just about 37% of 13-15 year olds and 40% of 16-24 year olds expressed a desire to leaving as soon as possible. It is further apparent that 81% of 10-12 year olds, 87% of 13-15 year olds and 91% of 16-24 year olds were of the opinion that the crime in the country is out of control and about half of the 10-15 year olds said it was as a result of crime that they planned to leave the country permanently.
It is further not clear where or how Biz Community got the 13-15 year olds results from as it was never mentioned by YDx on its web site summary of the research. And even if YDx had not included such results by mistake on its summary (which I doubt), it still does not make any sense at all how that conclusion that SA youth are disillusioned was arrived at, whether parents’ consent of these children was sought by the researchers concerned.
As if that is not enough, that Biz Community reported that YDx research as having conducted the “across all races and income groups” is also not stated in the research body’s web site nor is it hinted at by researchers. This is because researchers would have expectedly broken down this information into racial groups, earning per annum, etc, and brought forward too but it was not.
Andrea Kraushaar, YDx insights and research director told Biz Community that the “negative attitudes have spilled over into young people’s political views” such that they have now “come to think of politics as worthless nonsense”. I must admit that I kind of agree with this sentiment.
Kraushaar is further quoted as saying we, the youth, “don’t see the point in having political opinions or affiliations as (we) don’t think that political parties can make a positive difference in (our) lives”, which is, to a greater extent, true. But of course not many people would agree with that ‘insinuation’ of ours, would they?
Therefore, is this research really reflective and representative of the many South African youth and by “youth” I am not only referring to their “long understood” age of between 14 to 24 but whether it is also reflective of their race (NO racism intended) and geography?
Or is the research another temptation exercise into making us believe that soon the country would face another “brain drain” as has already been alluded to by Kraushaar?
Or is this just a misrepresentation and misunderstanding of us youth?