Current Affairs Essential, says Student

 … if we want to create a generation that will change the world, then first we need to create a generation which understands the world around them.

The need for teaching and learning about the world

By Annie Budd

Current affairs 2As a 13 year old, year 9, girl at Kapiti College, I believe that schools and colleges  should teach students current affairs. My reasons for believing this are that

~ everyone should know about the world they live in,

~ it would create a passion for learning

~ it will better prepare us for life.

Furthermore, if we want to create a generation, or generations, that will change the world then first we need to create a generation which understands the world around them.

What should happen?

Current affairsHere is what I want to see happening in schools. I propose that all schools and colleges dedicate at least half an hour each week to educating students about current affairs.

This is not unreasonable. It’s equivalent to just one silent reading session. It’s only 1/60 of the time students spend at school each week, and it would be something extremely valuable.

Kids need to know more about the world they live in.

A lot of people see reading the news as something that only a particular group of successful adults do. We need to make kids/teens see that this world is their world. It doesn’t just belong to rich white adult businessmen, and these people aren’t the only ones who can change the world either.

Kids need to know about what’s going on in their world just as much as others, because often their opinions are listened to more than adults. Aware children become successful adults. Also I believe this would be a subject which students enjoy.

Current affairs have an impact

Thinking back to all the years at school which I most enjoyed, they are the times when I had teachers who regularly held discussions, and taught lessons about current affairs and everything which was going on in the world.

Current affairs 1Of course I’m not a mind reader, but judging by the reactions from my classmates I believe students would really enjoy current affairs lessons. In addition to students enjoying the classes, I believe the lessons would spark children’s/teens interests in current affairs, and it could lead them to try and change things they believed weren’t right or ethical.

Another reason I believe these lessons should happen, is that they will give adolescents a different perspective on life and if they see the hardships others go through, it will compel them to be more grateful and generous. It could change their attitude.

Lastly, to reiterate what I said earlier, I feel that if we want to create a generation which will change the world then first we need to create a generation which understands that world and what is happening in it.

To change anything you need to understand it, for example: to find a cure for a disease you need to understand how the disease works, and to fix an engine you need to understand how the car works.

I believe that half an hour of learning each week should be dedicated to educating students on current affairs because there are so many good things which would come out of this.

(This is Annie’s second article for KIN. To read her excellent piece on what our council should do to assist Syrian refugees, scroll down to 24 October. She also wrote a poem on an experience in Vietnam: see 10 November.)

Annie and Tony are quite right: studying current affairs is vital in preparing students to become responsible and well-informed citizens of New Zealand and the world.

Back in the late 1960s and 1970s at Kapiti College, we included current affairs as a regular part of the Social Studies programme and were assisted by a very good monthly publication called the “Student’s Digest”.

In more recent times “Newspapers in Education” appeared regularly in the nation’s press to help students and teachers , but what the status of NIE is these days, I don’t know. There may well be good online sources for students, however Annie’s key point remains: there needs to be teacher-guided tuition in current affairs to produce “aware students”.

Tony has provided very good examples of the value of being well informed about other cultures.

I agree with Annie Budd’s article wholeheartedly. In my view, she is just so right. I didn’t leave NZ to work and live in Asia until the late age of 47. I have often reflected on how ill prepared I was to live in an Eastern culture having spent my life, up until then, in the West. I’m sure that if, right from my formative years, I had been tutored regularly to appreciate and discuss international current affairs with the resultant understanding of other cultures, it would have greatly assisted with my adaption to my new environment. It would also have saved me quite a number of early embarrassments!

I also fully endorse Annie’s comments on giving ” a different perspective on life”. We are just so fortunate that we live in a country like NZ. But I for one had to live and work in other cultures before I fully appreciated, as to just how much. In the countries I worked in the first comment that folks said to me when I mentioned that I was from NZ was “You have such clean air there!”. Wow! something that had sure been “taken for granted”

While international current affairs may be covered slightly in language and economics courses. I hope that Annie’s initiative is taken up by the teaching profession in NZ. I would certainly encourage the Kapiti College leadership team to give Annie’s proposal the recognition of the introduction of a pilot programme ( half an hour per week) as suggested. Annie has already done the draft outline! Well Done!

Tony Fraei