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Poll indicates high political consciousness among Egyptian children

Egyptian children’s consciousness of the current political changes in their society and their vision to help the country thrive were the main two topics discussed during a press conference held at the Four Seasons hotel last Wednesday.
The conference, “How to make a better Egypt”, was organized by Edrak for Edutainment Projects Co. to announce the results of its first children’s opinion poll in Egypt. The aim of the survey was to examine how children perceive current events in Egypt after the 25 January revolution.
Schools and a selected group of students who took part in the survey attended the conference, along with the Edrak management team and the press.
Tarek Zidan, CEO of Edrak for Edutainment, began by paying tribute to the children’s consciousness of vital issues, saying, “When we first thought about carrying out this survey, we didn’t predict this strong awareness among children. Not only are they catching up with what’s going on in the outside world, but they even attempt to take part and interact with society as befitting their capacities and ages.”
A slideshow presented the results: the percentages of the children’s answers and samples of their drawings expressing their love for Egypt.
Revolutionary slogans, including “Raise your head high, you're Egyptian”, “I am proud to be Egyptian” and “The army and the people are one hand”, dominated most of the drawings. Some children depicted Tahrir Square protesters or the pyramids, and a remarkable number featured the Muslim-Christian unity slogan of the crescent and cross.
1105 children of age groups ranged from 6 to 14 years from state, private, and international schools took part.
Edrak was partly motivated to conduct the survey because “Children under the age of 14 represent 34 percent of Egypt’s population. (…) They represent the next future of this country,” said Zidan.
Studying and working hard were the most chosen answers to the question “How do you can contribute to the development of your homeland?”, which reflects a conviction that being well-educated and sedulous are the suitable means for rebuilding society.
“When asked about what they think the new president should be like, 50 percent believed that he should work hard to alleviate poverty. Focusing on education came next with 35 percent of the total answers, reflecting an understanding of economic and social issues, giving them precedence over political affairs. Only 14 percent voted for strengthening political and foreign ties,” said Zidan.
The results showed that the political platform of presidential candidates would be among the main influences on their decisions if they were able to vote.
Regardless of whether the candidate has a high profile or not, participating children said, “I don’t know yet, I have to read their planned policies” and “I vote for a platform, not a person.”
In his closing remarks Zidan said, “The uprising has instilled a sense of ownership and belonging in the souls of young generation,” pointing out that 79 percent answered yes for taking part in the revolution if they were older. 
Also, environmental consciousness seemed high among children. Sixty-six percent answered “keeping our country clean” when asked “How do you express your love for Egypt?” Meanwhile, “finding rubbish in the streets” was the most frequent answer to “Things you dislike the most in Egypt.”
Edrak for Edutainment Projects was established in April 2010. It aims to develop projects throughout the Middle East that positively impact the intellectual and overall health of children, women and the family.

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