2014/15 Issues

The Issue is a current affairs content package for young people, prepared with journalists at The Economist. Issues for the current school year are only available to participating Burnet News Club schools, but Issues from past school years are available in full, free of charge. You can download full Issues below.

World in 2025

JUNE 2015
What will the world be like ten years from now?

It is impossible to say for sure what the future will be, but we do know two important things about it. First, we know that a lot will change between now and 2025. And second, we know that those changes will matter a great deal. They will affect the lives today’s children will lead when they are young adults. They will influence the jobs they do, the way they live and the things they care about. So it is worth looking ahead so we can be prepared. What trends can you see today that will affect our lives in ten years’ time? How might you influence what the world is like in 2025?

The resources for this topic featured:

  • An overview of the subject, written by an Economist journalist
  • A PowerPoint presentation of background facts
  • Some links to videos clips that talk about the future
  • The concepts that children will need to understand to form opinions on the subject
  • Starter questions, to help get the discussion going
  • Voices that represent different views and opinions
  • Common assumptions made about this subject
  • Further links for fact checking

Photo credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com

Democracy and Voting: The UK Election

APRIL 2015
On May 7th Britain will hold a general election to choose its next government. Everyone in the country over the age of 18 (apart from prisoners) will get to have their say on who will run Britain, by voting. But not everyone will use their vote. Why not?

This term the Burnet News Club will think about voting: who should be allowed to vote, why people vote, and why some people do not. This topic affects everyone in the country, because voters will decide which politicians will govern Britain. That matters very much, as the government makes decisions that have a big impact on everyone’s lives – for example they choose what is taught in schools.

The resources for this topic featured:

  • An overview of the subject, written by an Economist journalist
  • An overview of the manifesto for each political party
  • Some links to videos clips that explain the election process
  • The concepts that children will need to understand to form opinions on the subject
  • Starter questions, to help get the discussion going
  • Voices that represent different views and opinions

Inequality and the UK election

MARCH 2015
In the general election the people of Britain will choose their next government. They will choose between different political parties. The main ones are the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrat Party and the Labour Party. Other smaller parties include the UK Independence Party (UKIP) or the Green Party. The different parties promise to do different things to solve some of Britain’s problems.

One of the biggest problems is inequality – the gap between people who have lots of money and people who have less. In Britain some people are much richer than others and the different parties have different ideas about what to do about this.

The resources for this topic featured:

  • An overview of the subject, written by an Economist journalist
  • A PowerPoint presentation of background facts and interesting points
  • The concepts that children will need to understand to form opinions on the subject
  • Starter questions, to help get the discussion going
  • Voices that represent different views and opinions
  • Group activities to help dig deeper
  • Further links for fact checking

Photo credit: pcruciatti / Shutterstock.com

The Environment vs Heating Our Homes

JANUARY 2015
Energy is very important because it’s needed to power almost everything in the world around us. It takes energy to heat and light up our homes, drive cars and run machines. Providing energy for a country comes with a few problems.

One is making sure that everyone can afford the energy they need for themselves – for example they can afford to heat their home.

Another is making sure that we don’t harm the environment too much with the way we get energy. That’s because lots of the energy that we need comes from burning fuels – oil, coal and gas. Burning these fuels harms the planet.

The resources for this topic featured:

  • An overview of the subject, written by an Economist journalist
  • A PowerPoint presentation of background facts around the UK General Election
  • Some links to videos clips that show two different sides of the inequality debate
  • The concepts that children will need to understand to form opinions on the subject
  • Starter questions, to help get the discussion going
  • Standpoints and voices that represent different views and opinions
  • Common assumptions made about this subject
  • Further links for fact checking

The Ebola Crisis

NOVEMBER 2014
Ebola, a nasty virus, has broken out in the west African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In September 1976 scientists in Antwerp, Belgium, received a flask sent to them from a small village in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in central Africa. Inside it was a sample of a disease taken from a nun who was fatally ill. It had been sent to the scientists to find out what it was. They discovered that they were handling a deadly and unknown virus. They named it after a river in Zaire, the Ebola.That was the discovery of Ebola, and in the next 36 years there were about 20 Ebola epidemics. Each was in a village or small town in central Africa and went away after fewer than 300 people had died.

Today’s crisis is different. It has struck down three countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Almost 4,500 deaths have been recorded: the actual total is much larger. It has spread to other African countries and to Spain and America.The World Health Organisation (known as the WHO) fears there might be up to 10,000 new victims per week by December. It called the Ebola outbreak “the most severe acute public-health emergency in modern times”. Now that the world has woken up to the danger, the task is to stop the virus from spreading to more people. That is possible only with help from countries all over the world.

The resources for this topic featured:

  • An overview of the subject, written by an Economist journalist
  • The concepts that children will need to understand to form opinions on the subject
  • Starter questions, to help get the discussion going
  • Standpoints and voices that represent different views and opinions
  • Common assumptions made about this subject
  • Further links for fact checking

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