Students – an Image of the Future

29.04.2011

The fourth Annual Social Research Report comprises the results of the broad international survey conducted by Gorshenin Institute among students of the world.

The survey has been conducted from October 2010 to March 2011. Overall 5 155 students of 22 universitites in four countries: Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan were interviewed, based on a random sample.

When conducting the survey, we attempted to understand “the vision of the world” of students in Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan. It was important for us to see common points and differences regarding the issues of ethics and morality, choice of way of living, student interests and entertainment.

Young people build the image of the future world.

Conclusions:

Most students in Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan are proud of being citizens of their countries.

The level of patriotism is slightly higher among young people in Kazakhstan and Russia. The high level of student interest in public and social life was noted in all the countries where the survey was conducted. Young people are ready to take an active part in political processes in order to be heard by their governments. Young people are primarily interested in taking part in debates with politicians, taking part in demonstrations, meetings and other rallies, participating in voting at elections, membership of political parties, signing bills and petitions.

Corruption and bribery remain the most serious problems in Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan, students from these countries say.

In fact, this is one of a few common problems, together with the insufficient level of economic development, the respondents in all the countries pointed out. The topicality of other issues varies depending on the social and economic situation and specific political situation in a country. For instance, half of Ukrainian and Polish students named political instability among the key problems in their countries, while students in Russia and Kazakhstan almost do not feel this problem. Young Ukrainians, Russians and Poles said the insufficient level of social protection and poverty pose a problem, while to their Kazakh contemporaries the mentioned problems are of significantly less importance. Polish students say youth policy suffers from a lack of attention in their country; Kazakh youth place emphasis on ecological problems; young people in Russia point out alcoholism and drugs abuse as being among the key problems along with the threat of terrorism. Ukrainian students are concerned with the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Russians and Poles are more concerned with the problem of emigration than their contemporaries in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Self accomplishment, career, material well-being as well as love and friendship are the key indicators of success for students in all four countries.

However, material well-being is somehow more important to Russians and Kazakhs than to Ukrainians and Poles. Independence, freedom and stability are of higher importance to Polish students. Also, love and friendship are synonyms of success to more than a half of young Poles. Today’s young people believe in their own forces and think of them as the key driving force to reach objectives in life. However, students say they would not turn down proposals of financial support from adults or from the state. Also, they say good ties and contacts are important.

Basic moral guidelines are common to students from Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan. Thus, most of those polled absolutely reject the consumption of drugs, human trafficking and abortions.

Kazakh students first and foremost condemn alcoholism and premarital sexual intercourse. Polish youth are more tolerant to same-sex marriage and prostitution but categorically condemn adultery and euthanasia. Most respondents, regardless of the country of residence, in the list of “public vices” say living together, swearing, sex before marriage, divorce, petty theft and tax evasion are more allowable in comparison with other vices.

Support from parents is the main source of income for a clear majority of young people polled in Ukraine, Russian, Kazakhstan and Poland.

Also, about 60 per cent of Ukrainian and Kazakh student receive a scholarship; the number of scholarship recipients in Russia and Poland is almost one and half times less. It is interesting to know that about one third of students have a part-time job, with the exception of Kazakhstan, where only 13.2 per cent of those polled indicated wages from a part-time job as a source of income.

Foreign languages are not a problem to students in all the countries where the poll was held. A clear majority of students say they speak English.

Polish students appeared to be the most English speaking while their Ukrainian and Russian counterparts fall slightly behind. Young Kazakhs, apart from English, German and French, also give priority to Chinese: the number of students in Kazakhstan who speak Chinese is double that of students in Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian students also speak Russian fluently, one third of those polled speak German, and ten per cent of respondents speak Polish and French.

Ukrainians and Kazakhs dream of studying in Great Britain or the USA, Russians and Poles are patriotic in their choice of domestic education.

However, most young people would prefer to live and work abroad. Only one third of Ukrainians, Russians and Poles and slightly less than one third of Kazakhs who would like to stay in their home countries after finishing their education. It is important to note that there is no clear indication of favorite countries where students would like to go. The globalization factor, open information society and cosmopolitism typical to young people have had a clear effect on these indicators. However, the intention of young people to leave the country shall become a clear signal to employers, demographic analysts, politicians and political leadership of countries.

Students combine education and work to cover their current expenses – this is an objective for one third of those polled in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Poland.

Also, about one third of young people work to pay for entertainment. The only exception from this is Kazakhstan, where students mostly combine work and study to help their parents (over a third of respondents) and to pay for education (14.3 per cent).

Self-accomplishment and a friendly environment are important to about one third of Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Polish students. Over 40 per cent of young people in Kazakhstan say skilled work according to background is important, while in the three other countries this indicator is half.

One third of Ukrainian, Russian and Polish students say they have enough money for living, if it is not purchase of expensive things (large household appliances, cars, etc).

Kazakh students consider themselves the most prosperous – a quarter of the respondents said their families have no financial difficulties while among Ukrainian and Russian students this indicator is about seven per cent and among Polish students – only 2.5 per cent.

Speaking about the place of residence, young people predominantly live with their parents (in Russia this is a half of the respondents). As an alternative, Ukrainian and Kazakh students indicated student hostels, while respondents in Russia and Poland said they prefer renting an apartment or a room.

Internet is an important component of life of modern students. A clear majority of the respondents in all four countries say they use Internet every day.

The most popular searches in Internet are about work, study, looking for miscellaneous information and entertainment.

Young people in Ukraine and Russia use the Internet more frequently than Polish and Kazakh students for communication in chats, blogs and social networks. However, two thirds of respondents in Poland say they use the Internet to talk to their relatives, while in the other three countries this method of communication is significantly less common among students.

Young people mainly spend their free time meeting friends while computer games and Internet are second most popular. About a half of those polled spend their free time in front of a computer display.

Listening to music, reading, walking outdoors, watching TV and going in for sports are also popular among students.

However, young people are not enthusiastic about arts like theatre: one fifth of the respondents say they never go to the theatre while others say they go to the theatre very rarely, a few times in six months (Ukraine, Kazakhstan) or once every few years (Russia, Poland).

For more details download "Students - an Image of the Future" in .pdf

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