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Global unity calls for greater local awareness

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Courtesy of flickr.com

by EVELYN WONG 

While preparing to face the challenges presented by globalization, it is imperative that students take civic responsibility by keeping up with global issues.

With the wide variety of sources for information, ranging from radio to television and newspapers to the Internet, students are constantly exposed to content regarding the latest debates, policies and worldwide events.

According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC center for Public Affairs Research and the American press Institute, 60 percent of Internet users stated that they mostly “bump into” news content as they stream social networking sites, such as Facebook. Despite the availability, only 39 percent of American young adults actively seek out news.

According to analysts at Microsoft Research, a March 2013 survey showed that out of a sample of 1.2 million American web users, just over 50,000, or four percent, were “active news customers.” Collecting data from news sites, such as the New York Times, Huffington Post and Fox News, the authors defined an active news customer as someone who read at least 10 news articles and two opinion pieces in a three-month period.

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, awareness of current events is critical to prepare students for leadership roles in a globalized and multi-cultural economy. According to “Why global awareness matters to schools,” an article in theguardian.com, global awareness not only gives students an understanding of emerging industries but also promotes tolerance and an appreciation of different beliefs, cultures and backgrounds.

Knowing global issues allows citizens to develop informed opinions, providing the ability to influence decisions and policies enacted by local, state and national legislators. According to pbs.org, consuming domestic news from a critical perspective enhances democracy by bringing variations in value judgments and limits narrow-mindedness.

By learning about the world economy, politics and social structure, students may be better equipped to make decisions regarding their own lives. Engaging in discussions and debates with friends, colleagues and community about current events may increase awareness of issues, according to worldaffairscharlotte.com.

In addition, being informed about current issues enhances employment opportunities by providing potential workers with an understanding of international affairs and current events.

Other benefits of actively seeking out news include higher levels of language, reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. According to educationworld.com, a large body of research from the National Center for Education supports the correlation between students’ higher scores on standardized achievement tests- particularly in reading, math and social studies- and students who read the news.

By perusing the next newspaper obtained on the way to school or actively reading daily articles on sties such as Huffington Post and New York Times, students may enhance their educational and social opportunities, as well as contribute to global society as a whole.

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