Understanding the World Today

This course in the University Foundation Programme is a general course that is intended to sharpen students' critical thinking skills by exposing them to ideas and issues crucial in understanding the world today. The course will stimulate debate on numerous issues including development, current affairs, poverty, globalization, international relations, the world's changing political economy, culture, consumerism, and gender and environmental issues. The course will use materials from newspapers, the internet, and television.

This course will:

  • Allow students to engage in critical debate while learning the difference between fact and value judgements
  • Inform them about developments in the world today
  • Give them an in-depth knowledge of current affairs and how to interpret “news”
  • Engage students in accepting different views and opinions and defending beliefs
  • Course Outline
  • Current perspectives on world development
  • Development in Africa
  • Introduction to Globalization
  • The benefits and threats
  • Africa and GlobalizationAfrica's Place in the World
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Who is Who on the Global Stage
  • The Politics of International Relations
  • Wars and Conflicts
  • Global Political Economy
  • The Shifting Face of the Superpowers
  • Introduction the Gender Concepts
  • Equality or Difference?
  • Why Worry about Gender Issues
  • What is Culture?
  • The Role of Culture
  • Culture and Modernity
  • Cultural Difference and Conformity
  • Consumerism and Poverty
  • The Importance of the Environment
  • The Environment and Poverty

This course will rely heavily on class discussion and participation in order to achieve the course aims and objectives. Lectures will introduce topics and give information; students will learn how to analyse information, formulate opinions, structure arguments, and defend beliefs while accepting that others may have different beliefs and opinions.

This course will be assessed through class participation (10%), written assignments (30%), and a final examination (60%).