Bid to put geography back on curriculum map

24th April 2009 at 01:00

Geography teachers have launched a passionate defence of their subject as a new independent survey shows the majority of pupils think they don't spend enough time learning about the wider world.

Research commissioned to mark the launch of the Geographical Association's manifesto, A Different View, shows pupils think they only learn about "important" local and global issues through the subject.

The manifesto aims to reaffirm the subject's place in the curriculum and show the importance of those who teach the subject, described as "freethinking, passionate and engaged" by the association.

About 63 per cent of pupils questioned in the Mori poll said they didn't learn enough about the wider world in school, 93 per cent said it was important to learn about issues affecting people's lives around the globe, and 92 per cent said they wanted to learn about where important commodities, such as food, energy and water, come from.

They told the pollsters they had learnt about crime and antisocial behaviour, the economy, war and terrorism as well as the environment, climate change, poverty and hunger in geography lessons and wanted these issues to be a permanent part of the subject.

David Lambert, chief executive of the association, said the survey showed that curriculum chiefs needed to give geography more importance.

"There is something dreadfully wrong with an education system that claims to be personalised and listen to young people, which aspires to be world class, seeking to nurture successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens, but which has allowed the curriculum to be so utterly distorted that learning about our place in the world and its future is considered to be marginal in comparison to the mundane 'learning skills'. Let us lift our sights."

Margaret Roberts, president of the association, said: "Geography helps young people make sense of the world and can enrich their experiences of it. It can inform the way they participate in the world as local and global citizens. I think it has an essential role in the curriculum."

The survey questioned young people aged 11-14 and was carried out in January.

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