Problems, check. Solutions? mmm

Future world-shaping issues to be considered

JIMMY HICK
Last updated 05:00 30/10/2012
Four Francis Douglas Memorial College students are off to Auckland to compete in the Future Problem Solving competition. Clockwise from bottom left, Andrew Xiao, 14, Logan Walsh, 15, Michael Wells, 15, Patrick Fisher-Evans, 14.
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

BIG ISSUES: Four Francis Douglas Memorial College students are off to Auckland to compete in the Future Problem Solving competition. Clockwise from bottom left, Andrew Xiao, 14, Logan Walsh, 15, Michael Wells, 15, Patrick Fisher-Evans, 14.

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Four New Plymouth students will this weekend be considering some of the heavyweight issues affecting the future of the human race.

Francis Douglas Memorial College students Patrick Fisher-Evans, 14, Michael Wells, 15, Andrew Xiao, 14, and Logan Walsh, 15, are heading to Auckland to compete in the national finals of the Future Problem Solving competition.

The annual contest puts teams of four students from around the country in a battle against time to come up with solutions to global issues such as human rights, trade barriers and access to medicine.

Robyn Wackrow, who leads the gifted and talented programme at Francis Douglas, said the competition was an excellent way to get students thinking about issues which could potentially shape the world in the future.

"The problems they look at are based in reality," she said. "It's a great programme, but it's also very difficult. We're extremely proud of the boys for getting as far as they have."

Teacher Lisa Dalliston coached the boys and said she definitely wanted to keep up the school's involvement in the contest.

Francis Douglas is the only school in Taranaki to get into the finals of the competition, which Mrs Wackrow said was very popular in other parts of the country.

"It's strong in Auckland, but not so well known here."

Patrick, who has taken part in the competition for two years, said the benefits of being involved in the contest were huge.

"It's a great way of broadening your world view."

If all goes well in Auckland, the four students may have even further to travel, with the winners heading to the international stage of the contest in Indiana.

Mrs Wackrow said she first heard about Future Problem Solving through her niece who teaches in Auckland, and hoped to expand the programme to more children at the college.

"We've been running it with year 8, 9 and 10 students, but ideally we want to do it at every level."

Jimmy Hick is a Witt journalism student

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