What Saudi Youth Need

Our youth is our future. With 60% of the Saudi population under 30 yrs old they are paving the way for change in a society based heavily on traditions and tribal customs. So there is this elephant in the room so to speak, where there is a hush hush of this cultural tension between tradition and what people want today. Eventually it will explode if left unaltered or un-addressed amongst society.

I myself wish I could just hop in my car and drive, but I can’t. I wish I could go to the movies, mind you PG rated, but that’s just me, but I can’t. Personally speaking I feel this constant pressure to conform, when I love being unique and individualistic.

Some of the biggest issues facing the youth today are: public school curriculum, unemployment, which has cascaded into many other social issues, finances with regards to marriage and costs of living, sport facilities for both males and females, art/science museums and facilities for the youth to engage in, volunteering opportunities and organizations targeting the youths. And for the guys out there, there are the security guys manning the entrance at the malls, forbidding male youths from entering. And of course there is the infamous HAIA patrolling around policing the people. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for religion and reminding others to do good, but these people have way too much power and too much time on their hands.

The youth need to engage in society, it is vital to their development. If Saudi Arabia wants productive contributing members in its society then people need to wake up!

Avenues need to be created for this sizeable population. The youth of today will lead this country tomorrow. That is why the society and government need to focus on them before it’s too late and the country feels the consequences of failing the majority of its population.

Do you have any comments, personal experiences, suggestions or solutions to this issue facing the Saudi youth. If you do please speak up and be a part of the change.


You can also check out related topics discussed and written online:

Saudi Youth

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9 thoughts on “What Saudi Youth Need

  1. I think What the Saudi Youth need is a business and social related role models to inspire them to achieve what their grand father has achieved when they spread islam to humanity.

  2. Some female role models that come to mind for Saudi youth are: Muna Abu Sulayman and Princess Loulwah Al Faisal.

    I cannot think of any male role models in particular though…mmmm…any nominations?

  3. There is a great book I’ve just finished reading: “Saudi Challenges and Reforms,” by Samar Fatany, that deals with the issues raised above and other challenges the county is facing. I definitely recommend it.

  4. I think school curriculum is a big problem. I know some kids studying in Saudi schools, and the extensive religious education that is obligatory is breath-taking. Taking into consideration that most of it is ultra-orthodox, it’s sad to see young children being taught this. If the children have moderate- or liberal-viewed parents, it creates such a conflict of identity.

    There’s another problem: Racism. I remember reading an article long back in arabnews about how these young boys who had just graduated from college considered it ‘beneath them’ to work under South Asians.They wanted the big jobs. When they couldn’t get one, they just sat home and squandered money. Some faked degrees. And the others were leading depressing lives because they were forced into jobs they weren’t even interested in, simply because there hardly is any scope for most areas of work(say environmental protection or animal rescue). Apart from banking, business, trade, medicine and the petroleum industry, I can hardly think of anything else!

  5. And as Khaled talks about Saudisation… That’s impossible! Considering 60% of the population is under 30 years of age, none of them would be qualified for top-notch managerial and executive level jobs. No company would take such a risk. It takes years of experience to get such a post. Or you have to have some type of Einsteinian genius. The other problem is that the labour class largely comprises of expatriates- South and South-East Asians. With the kind of ‘high and mighty’ superiority complex that exists in the country, it’s not possible to replace the labour class with Saudi’s. You think a lower-middle class Saudi will opt for garbage-cleaning, water-delivery and so on? Can you even dream of Saudi maids and servants cleaning toilets and sitting for babies?

    Every year I’ve seen Saudisation take place, and the following year it goes back to the same old situation with expatriates being given the jobs. It’s because the companies consider them a safer bet- hardworking and not demanding. That’s just a fact Saudi’s need to come to terms with. Besides, a large part of the expatriate population would still not vanish if women were given freedom to choose any job they liked. As economies keep increasing and their scope widening, job-demand increases. For all you know, you need BOTH expatriates and women, considering the tiny population that’s skilled for work, since many are still studying. The reason you keep calling foreigners to your country is because you don’t want women to do the job for you- that’s a big hurdle for Saudisation too, apart from inexperienced college graduates. And what I mentioned above is also another big problem. And you still need to grow out of choosing mainstream jobs just because they fetch more money.

  6. I think Sarah has brought up some very good points. The biggest obstacle towards Saudization is the social attitude towards certain types of jobs and the lack of preparedness and/or initiative on the persons part, when entering university or the workforce.

    There is the King Faisal Universtiy Preparatory Program (UPP) that prepares students for success in post-secondary school through encouraging critical thinking skills and changing attitudes towards learning and studying. There needs to be more progams like this.

  7. Sarah has nailed it. The problem lies within the curriculum. Schools should adopt or at least try to implement activities that would engage the youth to think more creatively. Schools should try to instill critical thinking skills in kids and offer them chances to explore and learn about all the various careers available to them besides the mainstream (engineering, medicine, accounting, etc) ones. This can be done through career fairs where they meet professionals from various fields. Schools or even companies should engage kids during summer with workshop programs where kids can learn how to build everyday things such as chairs, tables, or toys which they can even take home as momentos of what they achieved instead of playing soccer all summer long. The ministry should take cues from the international schools and implement speech contests, debate contests, talent shows, etc in their academic calendars. Schools should invite alumni or any students studying in university to come speak to students whether in elementary, middle school, or secondary school and share their experiences in college and how they got their and what they plan to achieve.

    Sending hundreds of thousands of high school graduates abroad for education is good, but equally important is preparing the younger ones for the future.

  8. Great suggestions Sam! Career fairs really allow high school students to explore many possible career paths and it gives them a goal for their future and a sense of direction as they pass through high school.

    The youth really need guidance, and what I mean by that is, they need people to give them ideas and the neccessary tools to make those ideas into realities.

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