Change and Continuity in School-to-Work Transitions of Young People in the MENA Countries

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Siyka KOVACHEVA, University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Five years after the Arab Spring in the Southern Mediterranean and the fading of its democratic promise, issues of entrenched social inequalities and lack of social justice are back on the agenda of academic and policy research in the region. Young people in the Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East meet with more difficulties in their school-to-work transitions than before and many more of them feel socially excluded. What are the old and the new challenges youth in the region is facing today and what are the dominant patterns in the trajectories to adulthood for different groups among them?

This paper addresses these questions taking stock of the international comparative project ‘SAHWA. Researching Arab Mediterranean Youth: Towards a New Social Contract’.  The study focuses on the experiences, views and prospects of young people in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon. It combines a representative survey in each of the 5 countries and a wide range of ethnographic studies in different social spaces conducted in 2015. The paper will analyze the differences in youth transitions among the countries, given their different economic, political and social context, as well as will highlight the common trends in the region. The examination of the inequalities in the school to work transitions will take into consideration their entanglement with family and housing transitions and wider identity formation processes.