Task 2B: Social and cultural issues

Task 2B asks you to discuss a social and cultural issue in English-speaking countries and how it affects young people using the information in your preparation material. As we cannot choose the specific issue for you, we will outline the main issues mentioned in the nine texts in your preparation mater…

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Social and economic inequalities

Various texts in your preparation material imply that English-speaking countries are challenged by issues like social and economic inequalities.

For example, both Text 1 and Text 5 suggest that the economic crisis affected many people in the UK, including businesses and youngsters. Text 1 mentions “a workplace that was going through difficult times economically, and the owners had to work hard to survive” (p. 5).

In Text 5, Alexandra McKenzie from Newcastle in the UK suggests that young people no longer feel optimistic about getting a job because the economic crisis means that there are fewer jobs available. She also discusses the issue of unpaid internships, suggesting that the government needs to do more to tackle inequality, because only wealthier people can a…

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Political tensions

Text 6 in your preparation material focuses on political tensions in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK and has been a place of social and political tensions for many years because part of the population wants to be a part of the UK while another part would like to unite with the Republic of Ireland.

In 2017, some power-sharing talks began in which Sinn Fein (one of the political parties in Northern Ireland) demanded that Irish be made an official language. For example, they wanted Irish to be used in court trials instead of English.

The testimonials in Text 6 show that people living in Northern Ireland are still divided. Some still want Northern Ireland to leave the UK while others want the country to continue and be a part of Great Britain. This division is caused by national and relig…

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Prejudice and discrimination

Several texts in your preparation material suggests that two important issues in English-speaking countries are prejudice and discrimination based on race, social status, or sexual orientation.

Text 5 includes testimonials of young people in Britain being bullied or rejected because they are poor, gay, or not British:

When I say the word ‘homeless’, people visualise someone sitting on the street in a cardboard box, looking terrible and perhaps even shouting at traffic. This bothers me as I am friends with many homeless young people who are far from this stereotype. (p. 9);

A 15-year-old Sikh boy at my school ran away last month because he was bullied. (…) Sometimes I get picked on by older boys in my school - they call me names like ‘dopey’. (p. 9)

He expressed his homophobic hatred by strangling me in front of a teacher and other pupils. (p. 9)

Text 7 also talks about prejudice but this time in the US, where people living in big cities like New York have prejudices against people living in rural areas: “In fact, people in New York seem to…

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