The Baseera Center is currently considered one of the most important research centers in Egypt, although there are other research centers which are older and larger. Perhaps Baseera has established this reputation for its objectivity, impartiality, independence, and accessibility of presentation for the results of its studies of public opinion.
In early 2018, Baseera Center asked a representative sample of Egyptians about their wishes for the new year. The two most important aspirations of the Egyptians were: to obtain stable employment, and the success of their children in education. The desire to get rich or to travel abroad is no longer at the forefront of Egyptian wishes, as was the case in previous years, particularly during the last quarter of the 20th century.
Perhaps this change in the wishes of Egyptians for the future reflects their reality and the priorities of their values. Work and education are the most important values for Egyptians. Indeed, according to a World Value Survey conducted by a coalition of well-known research centers, these values – education and work – are almost the most important in most countries of the world, especially in the countries of South and East Asia, such as India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and China. Perhaps this explains the renaissance of those countries, which development experts in the last quarter of the twentieth century called the ‘Asian Tigers’. But this is another subject, worth an independent study.
Back to the Egyptian scene, which has undergone changes and radical shifts before and during, and since the revolutions of the Arab Spring in 2010-2013.
One of these changes was the feeling of the young people who carried out the revolution – of whom dozens were killed – that their revolution had been hijacked. The feelings of the youth of the revolution led to frustration: some of them emigrated abroad, some of them abandoned their volunteering work in a manner similar to internal migration – seeking stability, marriage and making a family. Here, education and the pursuit of rewarding work are the two most important values at the end of the second quarter of the 21st century.
Honestly, the value of a job, with its guaranteed salary even if it was modest, was one of the Egyptian traditions that were established with the emergence of the modern Egyptian state since Muhammad Ali Pasha, who ruled Egypt at the beginning of the nineteenth century (1805-1840). A governmental job, specifically, was the ultimate aim of many Egyptians. An involvement in any governmental work meant a higher social status, guaranteed income, and a pension for retirement at the age of 60.
However, the youth of the revolution in its first three years – 2011-2013 – seem to have abandoned some of these established Egyptian values. Yet they have been frustrated with the result of the kidnapping their revolution, to the extent that many of them, perhaps under the influence of parents and senior relatives, have reverted back to those traditional values. Even if they are sporting new clothes and fashions, they value working in the private sector or small businesses.
And well done to the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for organizing several conferences for young people, listening for to their opinions and concerns, and trying to involve them in public work, or even training them in governmental offices as assistants to directors, governors and ministers. It should also be noted, the same initiatives of the same regime in contact with the institutes of senior management in France, Germany, Japan, and Korea, benefit from their experience in the absorption and rehabilitation of young people, in preparation for their involvement in the management of the state, the private sector, and society in general.
In this regard, continuity, follow-up, and periodic evaluation of the harvesting of such programs and initiatives is useful. It would be desirable if the periodic follow-up and evaluation were conducted by non-governmental bodies and private research centers, such as the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera).