Thursday, May 22, 2003

Home-schooler knows his way around the world

Washington - A 14-year-old who is taught at home by his mother beat 54 other students to win the title of United States National Geographic Bee champion and a prize worth $25 000 (about R200 000) on Wednesday. After blitzing through a series of stumpers, like as questions about volcanic formations in Tanzania, James Williams from Washington state correctly answered a tie-breaker about which country possessed the Indian state of Goa until 1961. Runner-up Dallas Simons said the United Kingdom, but James, who missed just three questions during the two-day National Geographic Society competition, never wavered when he answered Portugal.

James and his fellow competitors are a far cry from the vast majority of young Americans. About 11 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 cannot find their own country on a map, and another 50 percent could not properly identify China, the United Kingdom or Japan, according to last year's National Geographic-Roper Global Literacy Survey.

The survey placed the United States second to last and in front of only Mexico in terms of geographic literacy. >>Full story...

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