UAE: Gen Zs no longer interested in traditional schooling; here's what it means for their future

Experts opine young people making career choices that are different from their parents is not new, call it a natural generational shift


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 17 May 2023, 6:33 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 May 2023, 2:19 PM

The digital era has significantly influenced the mindset of the current generation, with Gen Z witnessing the emergence of digital entrepreneurship, self-made influencers, and the gig economy.

With more than half of the global population now using social media, as indicated by research from Global WebIndex, Gen Z's perception of academic pursuits, even at the school level, is evolving.

Many individuals within this generation consider traditional education to have limited value in their aspirations of becoming successful social media influencers.

Divya Salian Amin, Clinical Psychologist, Modern Family Clinic says, “In the current scene, social media and use of gadgets are riveting children and their focus is shifting away from academics. A lot of students are very particular that ‘they will only do something related to social media or Youtube’. Students strongly feel that they want to do something related to technology so academics are not important for them. They seem very sure that they will not pursue a career that requires an academic bent of mind, so they show no interest in that direction.”

She adds, “Despite parents and teachers pushing them, the children of this generation are very specific and decisive about what they want to do, and different social media platforms are [attracting] them a lot. Children these days see that there is a lot of money involved in being a Youtuber or being an influencer. So, they want to do something on those lines and feel that academics will not help them, so why waste your energy on it. There are a lot of students with that mindset.”

But experts also opine young people making career choices that are different from their parents is not new.

Emma Shanahan, Principal, Aspen Heights British School says, “This is a natural generational shift and is critical for innovation, change and the development of humankind. Young people are influenced by their role models, and with the rise in social media use, their influences are now beyond the home and school. Our students' horizons are broad and limitless- and this is a wonderful opportunity. I think rather than choosing to be influencers because they feel it is lucrative, young people are excited and inspired by the innovation and creativity these influencers demonstrate.”

“Collaboration, digital literacy and enquiry skills are all interwoven into school curricula (these days) to give students the very best opportunities for their future,” she adds.

Experts reiterate that Gen Z has been immersed in a highly connected digital world. They are not only familiar with it but also use it as a medium to connect, express themselves, and interact with diverse individuals, embracing their differences.

Girish Hemnani, Life Coach and Energy Healer based in Dubai says, “In the past, especially for Generation X and earlier, money was often regarded as a symbol of power and success. The accumulation of wealth was associated with social status and the ability to exert influence and control. For Millennials, who came of age during a period of economic instability, financial security became a primary concern. They tend to prioritise stability, job security, and saving for the future, seeking a sense of financial well-being and protection.”

Mentors aver many members of Gen Z see money as a means of attaining personal freedom and pursuing their passions. They prioritise flexibility, independence, and the ability to curate their own career paths.

“Now, with Generation Z coming of age, we find ourselves in a time where individualism and self-expression are highly valued. This generation has grown up witnessing the rise of digital entrepreneurship, self-made influencers, and the gig economy,” adds Hemnani.


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