GIBS survey reveals interesting facts about SA youth

Posted on June 19, 2015

A recent survey by the University of Pretoria (UP)’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) revealed that South African Youth have a fundamental interest in the political state of our country and that although they are generally positive about South Africa’s future, they are extremely concerned about corruption and leadership. Many respondents commented that corrupt leaders are hindering South Africa’s potential to provide them with a better future. Unsurprisingly, celebrity news is also high on their agenda.

More than 1 000 learners took part in the survey at the annual GIBS CareerExpo, which was held in Johannesburg as part of the GIBS Spirit of Youth Leadership Programme. The initiative is run by the GIBS Centre for Leadership and Dialogue and involves top learners in Grades 11 and 12 from a diverse range of township, inner city, former Model C and private schools.

Phyllis Byars, associate director of the GIBS Centre for Leadership and Dialogue said: ‘The feedback from this survey reveals that the youth of today are generally positive about their careers, current educational prospects and, to some extent, personal safety in South Africa. In fact, over two thirds of learners felt that South Africa held more career prospects for them than other countries – perhaps an indication of the world economic outlook.’

Respondents expressed less optimism about personal safety with as many as half indicating a high level of uncertainty. In terms of education, the majority felt they were being adequately prepared for the job market in a globalised world. These views, in combination with the ways in which they access and consume information, provide an idea of how the youth are likely to approach their future as adults living in South Africa.

Despite the popular perception that the current generation of young people depends on social media for all information, 76% of respondents indicated that they access information on current affairs in the country by means of traditional media such as newspapers and television. Twenty-one per cent said they access such information via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. These results show that most respondents use social networks to obtain information on their favourite celebrities.

The survey also revealed that South Africa’s youth are politically acclimatised, with 58% of all those surveyed saying that they access information on politics proactively more than once a week. Seventy-five per cent believe that political engagement can be an effective tool to effect change in South Africa and 38% said that they discuss politics with their peers, mostly in the school environment.


- Author GIBS News

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