Vietnamese youth show scant interest in current affairs

By Nguyen Quy   August 22, 2020 | 05:25 pm PT
Vietnamese youth show scant interest in current affairs
High-school students wait for their exam at a school in Ho Chi Minh City in March 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnamese youth are most concerned about food security and stable jobs and pay little attention to public issues like corruption and climate action.

Results of a survey released by the British Council in Vietnam show 70 percent of Vietnamese respondents aged between 16 and 30, saying food security and career stability are their top concerns, followed by adequate living conditions and clean water and hygiene, both at 58 percent.

44 percent of respondents cared about access to university education. Thirty-nine percent of the 1,200 respondents nationwide were interested in gender equality and 37 percent were concerned about healthcare quality.

However, current affairs in the country did not seem to evoke much interest among the youth. Just 26 percent showed interest in the ongoing corruption crackdown, which has been a hot topic in Vietnam in recent years. The high-profile anti-corruption campaign has been spearheaded by Party Chief and State President Nguyen Phu Trong. Several high-profile government officials, top military officers and businessmen have been arrested and jailed for crimes from graft and money laundering to mismanagement in recent years.

Clean energy was a primary concern for 24 percent of the respondents while 19 percent was concerned about equality for ethnic minorities.

Only 14 percent had paid attention to actions against climate change despite Vietnam being one of six economies most affected by climate change between 1999 and 2018, according to the Global Climate Risk Index published last year by German environmental think tank Germanwatch.

The same percentage of youth were interested in peace, justice and strong institutions, the survey found.

However, despite not paying much attention to the issue, 67 percent of the respondents felt the government should give top priority to cracking down on corruption.

Other important issues that the government and lawmakers should consider, according to the respondents, are ensuring food security (54 percent) and providing opportunities for the youths to access university education (51 percent).

The survey also found 73 percent of Vietnamese youth see social media as the most trustworthy source of information for current affairs, followed by internet and websites (69 percent), television (59 percent) and media (43 percent).

As of January 2020, Vietnam had 68.7 million internet users, up 6.2 million or 10 percent over the previous year, according to British marketing and advertising agency We Are Social.

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