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Study seeks to tackle youth challenges, migration

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Aug 21,2019 - Last updated at Aug 21,2019

AMMAN — The Arab Democracy Index survey conducted by the University of Jordan's Centre for Strategic Studies (2018-2019) showed that 45 per cent of Jordanians are considering migration, according to a paper published on Tuesday by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD). 

The perspective series paper, titled "Jordanian youth and their decision-making processes regarding their future", was published as part of ARDD's efforts to address the issue of Jordanian youth's emigration, urging for more evidence-based policies to combat it. 

The paper also highlighted that a 2017 Gallup report on the Potential Net Migration Index revealed that 19 per cent of the overall population and 27 per cent of Jordanian youth at the time sought to migrate out of the country.

The first part of the research tackled "opportunities for growth", citing the Gallup report that showed that 29 per cent of bachelor's degree holders want to migrate.

A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on Jordanian youth policy found a considerable mismatch between skills gained in academia and the needs of the labour market, which is a central component of the youth unemployment crisis in Jordan that has pushed young people to aspire to earn their livelihoods elsewhere, according to the paper. 

The paper explored social and cultural elements of youth exclusion, with specific attention to gender, and shed light on the ways that young people are often reduced to either a “resource” that must be mobilised or taken advantage of, or a social hazard that is to be placated and controlled.

It stated that it is important to focus on structural changes that directly influence the well-being of youth.

ARDD proposed having evidence-based policies that guide young people through their self-actualisation journeys, help them hold to their support networks and practise their economic, social and political roles as active citizens.

The perspective series paper is one of three papers, which compile various studies from the past three years on the topic, ARDD CEO Samar Muhareb told The Jordan Times over the phone on Wednesday. 

The series started as a part of efforts in economic enablement over the last three years, which resulted in studies made by contacting the private sector and the target population. 

One paper highlights how young people are desperate and wish to migrate, another paper discusses integration in a different country after actually migrating, and a third tackles the issue of young Syrian refugees in Jordan and how many of them are actually planning to go back to Syria and the issues surrounding their employment. 

All these topics require more interest and study, Muhareb said, noting that “the most irritable thing” is how youth strategies have been abandoned for the past 10 years. The 2019-2025 National Strategy for Youth, which Prime Minister Omar Razzaz launched in July, is not up to par, making 10 years of negligence pile up many problems that caused young people to want to migrate, according to Muhareb. 

"We might say that the economic factor is the biggest one to cause migration, but there is actually the social factor, which is just as important and related, because young people need to experience their freedom and inpendence, carving their own path, but the conditions constrict them to staying longer with their families until maybe they are older than 30 years," she said.

She also said that many young people feel alienated and light needs to be shed on restricted freedoms, depression and personal sense of fulfilment. 

"This is why one strategy is not enough. The government needs to put in more effort in this topic, especially the Ministry of Youth, communicating with young people and giving them reality as it is, speaking directly to their minds," she concluded.

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