The GCC’s latest report card, based on recent surveys by US-based Penn Schoener Borland (PSB) and UK-based EY, would once again read: “Must try harder.” The region is starting to apply itself at long last, and is buying the right equipment. It now has schools that are as good as, if not better – and certainly newer – than most countries. But it must learn to use them properly if its grades are to improve.

Like an awkward teen sitting at the back of the class, the GCC must adjust its attitude too, according to the PSB poll, which covered how regional youth feel about employment. At the moment, many of the region’s young do not care too much about doing well after completing their education.

The region lacks ambition in some key areas. For a long time, GCC nationals have looked forward to comfortable government jobs. But now, those are off the table and the young have subsequently lost their drive. They look to family and friends for job pointers, but do not all see getting a job as terribly important.

The GCC needs to focus on its future and learn from its poorer, albeit harder-working, classmates in the wider Middle East. The region has the tools to do well; now it must break them in and learn to use them. Young people must go for the jobs that are there or develop positions and opportunities of their own.