Sure, I know there's the current chaotic situation in Libya. Rioters spreading violence, innocents getting involved, many citizens fleeing to other countries... then oil prices escalate as a result and other people go into a buying frenzy. Some leaders fear that the unrest in Libya may get worse and might even potentially start a third World War if the problem isn't resolved quickly.
I end up seeing this event as more of a topic that could be discussed in my exams.
It's worrying that I end up being more concerned over my grades(and future career) than what is happening - and could happen - to the world. "More loansharks and their runners get arrested" -- possible essay topic for Chinese. "Oil prices climbing over Libya unrest" -- an example for an Economics test? "Present TV shows have negative influence on Gen Y" -- I should remember that for the English essay question.
I end up storing all these pieces of information just so I can pull it out and use it for the exam papers. Is there much meaning in doing that? It's not that I'm completely ignorant about current events... I should be well informed on such affairs. But is being well informed alone enough?
I think some students may read news and become current just for the sake of showing it all off during the exams. Isn't it sad associating current affairs with scoring grades only? I'm sure a number of us would only read what we're interested in given the choice, like only the entertainment/sports/IT etc. sections. Whatever happens in Uruguay or Myanmar or Canada may not have relevance to us in any obvious way, so there may not be a need to know that stuff.
Even with jobs later on, not all the news may concern us still, depending on the jobs we get into. Would a carpenter need to know what happens in a country in the Middle East? Would a local musician need to know the current situation in Iran? Would a mechanic need to know what's going on in the stock market? I guess at the most, the news would give you a bit of relevant/interesting info, and the rest can serve as merely conversation/discussion material?
There may not be much point in posing arguments over certain issues if nothing is gained out of it, except marks. The issues we students touch on tend to be outside of what we are able to affect, at most we can only inform and enlighten others who may be able to make a more significant change.
Even if I do know that Canada has severed ties with Libya and closed the Canadian Embassy over there, I won't be able to do anything with that knowledge except talk about it. Maybe I might be viewed as someone who put effort in keeping current with live events, but I'll definitely cannot do anything which might have any effect on that current situation. That particular event also may not have anything to do with me either.
So when will all this general knowledge be useful for other things in life other than excelling in tests? When I'm a traveling businessman? When I'm playing Trivial Pursuit? When I'm a teacher??? -.-