Young Americans Not Familiar with Current Events

December 9, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. current events / ˈkɜr ənt ɪˈvɛnts / (n.) – the latest news about important matters
Example: The teacher usually gives a quiz on current events.

2. fare / fɛər / (v.) – to manage or do an activity well or badly
Example: Most students did not fare well in the exams.  

3.  aggregate / æg rɪ ˌgeɪt, ˈæg rɪ gɪt / (n.) – a sum or total
Example: The aggregate of all your past experiences made you stronger.

4. lag behind / læg bɪˈhaɪnd / (idiom) – to achieve less than someone or something else
Example: He is lagging behind his classmates due to his long absence.

5. globalize / ˈgloʊ bəˌlaɪz / (verb.) – to make something international
Example: We want to globalize the company in the next five years.


Read the text below.
Research has shown that young people in the United States lack understanding of current events.

Using an online survey, the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the National Geographic Society assessed how young Americans fared when tested on global literacy, or knowledge about the world. The survey was given to 18- to 26-year-olds who are currently attending or have previously attended college. The test included questions about geography, international relations, and international news. The results revealed that the average score of the students was only 55%.

According to the makers of the survey, the Internet plays a huge part in the youth’s low global literacy rate. Since the web has become an aggregate of legitimate and false sources, finding reliable information has also become more difficult. Many Internet users now depend on Facebook for the latest news, which has limitations in broadening their knowledge of the world.

There are also some who believe that schools are to blame. According to Richard Haas of the CFR, schools must require students to take courses on international issues to battle the problem.

While the survey presented negative results about the global literacy of young Americans, it also reveals more positive findings when it comes to their perception of current events.  When asked to rate the importance of knowledge on various topics under global literacy, 41% said that current events are ‘extremely important.’ Majority also claimed that they want to increase their knowledge on these topics.

The importance of global literacy among youth is highlighted by a survey commissioned by the British Council and Think Global. Results showed that 75% of business executives believe that a country may lag behind other emerging countries if young people do not globalize their way of thinking.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you believe that many of today’s youth do not know a lot about the world? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, what is more important: good educational background or wide knowledge about the world? Why?

Discussion B

·         How are international issues discussed in schools in your country?
·         What are the advantages of being well-informed of current events?

December 9, 2016