Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Italy to Lose Geography?

According to a variety of television press and some online sites including a petition, the new proposed Italian education reform threatens geographic education. The bureaucrats in charge of the reform believe that geography is no more than memorizing places. It appears that the new reform would defund many programs. Sadly, the proper teaching of geography and the world that it unlocks has not reached Italy.

Geographic Travels contacted Karl Donert, President of the European Association of Geographers, for a statement. His analysis (below) reaches the same conclusion GT.

I have very grave concerns about the tidal wave of proposals for curriculum reform in Europe that seems to be threatening the position of Geography in the school curriculum. The situation is not only happening in Italy, during the past 12 months at EUROGEO (www.eurogeography.eu) we have been supporting colleagues in several countries (for such as Finland, Malta, Cyprus and Slovakia) who were seeking to safeguard the future of Geography in their education system.
Why is this happening? Why is it that Ministries of Education fail to realise the relevance of Geography and the essential lifelong (spatial) skills that it provides young people? After all, how can we hope to address the major social and environmental issues in Europe without developing a geographical understanding of the human as well as the physical nature of major issues like living together, global warming, sustainability and climatic change?

The problem appears to lie in the fact that most decision makers do not understand what Geography is and geographers do. This is a very worrying situation.
EUROGEO has also launched the website Geocube to spread the word how important geography is. Let us hope this public outreach is being combined with targeting advocacy towards the ministry of education.

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