Geography heads west in shake-up

27th February 1998 at 00:00

Geography has become a victim of the first reform of the Italian educational system since the 1920s. It has disappeared as a curriculum subject, sidelined into history and earth sciences, in a pilot project destined to become the curriculum for the new millennium.

When education minister Luigi Berlinguer announced La Grande Riforma a year ago, he left the contents of the curriculum to a think-tank of 38 luminaries including conductor Ricardo Muti and semiotics guru Umberto Eco.

The think-tank duly produced a 500-page document, but because it came out at the end of the school year it went almost unnoticed.

Now, with a pilot curriculum based on the document being tried out in 150 secondary schools, people are taking a closer look. New technologies and languages inevitably occupy a large place in the document. But geography is conspicuous by its absence.

A group of intellectuals has signed a Manifesto in Defence of Geography, in a belated attempt to get it back into schools before the proposed reform becomes law.

One signatory is Oliver Toscani, the photographer behind the controversial Benetton advertising campaign. He said: "Geography was the only subject I was good at at school; without it I wouldn't have started travelling round the world. It arouses curiosity and opens doors to other cultures."

David Newbold

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now