Children define their role in Egypt’s transitional phase

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CAIRO: Studying hard and cleaning the streets are the two key roles children identified for themselves in the upcoming period to develop Egypt, according to the first survey conducted to reflect children’s views after the January 25 Revolution.

The poll, conducted by of Edrak for Edutainment Projects Development Co. and that surveyed 1,105 students aged 6–14, measured their awareness and understanding of the revolution and how they perceive the current events in Egypt.

“The objective of the survey is to involve the children and get their opinion and to see how aware they are and their vision for Egypt’s future and the current events,” explained Tarek Zidan, chief executive officer of Edrak.

Participants included children from 42 different public, private and international schools in Cairo and Alexandria.

“Thirty-four percent of the population under 14 … that’s a number you can’t neglect and not take their opinion,” said Zidan, noting that the children were very excited at the prospect of being asked their opinion.

“They are very optimistic and know their role to draft new Egypt; cleanliness of the streets is a priority and they are very connected with the history of the country and its historical figures,” explained Zidan, analyzing the results of the survey.

The survey also found that the parents are the children’s idols, they want to help poor and eradicate illiteracy and media is a key tool in shaping children’s thoughts.

“The results we got are a product of the media not the schools,” he said.

Participants were asked to draw illustrations expressing their feelings towards their country and how they perceive it. Pictures of the pyramids, the cross and crescent together and the flag were in the majority of the drawings.

When asked “Why do you love Egypt?” 43 percent of the participants answered “I love its history” while 19 percent said its “people are nice,” which indicates their connection to history more than the people.

Regarding how to express their love to Egypt, 66 percent of the participants said they want to “keep it clean,” while 14 percent gave other ideas which included being president, choose a good government and laying the foundation for fair rule.

As for their understanding of the January 25 Revolution, “The children said its angry people protesting and have used Facebook as their tool for change,” said Zidan, adding that one in every four participants went to the “action zone of the revolution,” referring to Tahrir Square.

Seventy-three percent say the “people are happy and care more about Egypt,” after the revolution.

Furthermore, 79 percent said that if they were older they would have taken part in the revolution knowing that some were injured.

“They are ready to go out and fight for the country which is an indication of a bright future,” said Zidan.

The majority also agreed that the new president should want to help people and solve their problems. The survey asked who they would like to be the new president and answers varied between Ahmed Shafiq, Ahmed Zuweil, Amr Moussa, Mohamed ElBaradei and Omar Suleiman.

Notes the participants are sending to the new president included: “Be fair, make Egypt better, let police perform their duty and educate the people, make the streets cleaner and make the economy better.”

Note they are sending to the army include: “work harder, beware of thieves,” and refer to them as “safe hands that won’t let us down.”

Participants called on the Egyptian people to “make yourself better, love one another, start with yourself and give the army and the new president a chance to do their job.”


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